Overview

For the first time in paperback-Levertov's recent poetry, showing her at the height of her literary powers. Sands of the Well, first published in hardcover in 1996, shows the poet at the height of her considerable powers, as she addresses the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastal landscape in terms of music, memory, aging, doubt, and faith.
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Sands of the Well

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Overview

For the first time in paperback-Levertov's recent poetry, showing her at the height of her literary powers. Sands of the Well, first published in hardcover in 1996, shows the poet at the height of her considerable powers, as she addresses the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastal landscape in terms of music, memory, aging, doubt, and faith.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her 21st collection, septuagenarian Levertov (Evening Train; Oblique Prayers) continues to find God in the natural world and in "human passions, cruelties, dreams, concepts, crimes, and the exercise of virtue." Nature, however, is what puts all of the latter in perspective and allows us to realize the divine. At their best, these poems, in the imagist tradition, transport a reader into the rendered scenes, the lines becoming like "oarstrokes over/ the waveless, dark,/ secretive water." While the last of the eight sections, "Close to a Lake," offers a heady brew of old and new testament faith, it is Levertov's more searching, personal reflections that ring truest: "...I lay low, evasive,/ imagining mortal weariness it's not yet time for." One feels, throughout, that the spirituality is in our own hands: "...when you seem to yourself/ nothing but a flimsy web/ of questions, you are given/ the questions of others to hold/ in the emptiness of your hands,/ songbird eggs that can still hatch/ if you keep them warm..../ You are given the questions of others/ as if they were answers/ to all you ask." (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
In her 21st collection, septuagenarian Levertov (Evening Train; Oblique Prayers) continues to find God in the natural world and in 'human passions, cruelties, dreams, concepts, crimes, and the exercise of virtue.' Nature, however, is what puts all of the latter in perspective and allows us to realize the divine. At their best, these poems, in the imagist tradition, transport a reader into the rendered scenes, the lines becoming like 'oarstrokes over/ the waveless, dark,/ secretive water.' While the last of the eight sections, 'Close to a Lake,' offers a heady brew of old and new testament faith, it is Levertov's more searching, personal reflections that ring truest: '...I lay low, evasive,/ imagining mortal weariness it's not yet time for.' One feels, throughout, that the spirituality is in our own hands: '...when you seem to yourself/ nothing but a flimsy web/ of questions, you are given/ the questions of others to hold/ in the emptiness of your hands,/ songbird eggs that can still hatch/ if you keep them warm..../ You are given the questions of others/ as if they were answers/ to all you ask.'
Library Journal
Many of these poems exist to reiterate, with calm assurance, the poet's faith in a force greater than herself: "Lord, I curl in Thy grey/ gossamer hammock/ that swings by one/ elastic thread to thin/ twigs that could, that should/ break but don't." The author of over 20 volumes of verse and prose, she is admirably successful in continuing to produce poems despite her professed moral and spiritual difficulties with the endeavor: "The yellow tulip in the room's warmth opens./ Can I say it and not seem to taunt/ all who live in torment?" Levertov, who is both Jewish and Christian, English and American, and who has been influenced by Eastern religion and the "open-form" aesthetics of the Black Mountain artists, is capable of a wide range of tones, the most formal of which is often the most moving: "For the first time, the certainty of return/ to this imprinted scene . . . / cannot be assumed." Recommended for all poetry collections.-Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York, N.Y.
Booknews
Examines national and international trends in the software industry in a somewhat more optimistic light than the author's 1992 Decline and Fall of the American Programmer. Focuses on worldwide competition to the traditional application developer, and looks at the new generation of American programmers leading the industry, changes in the competitive situation in the past four years, and new technologies and applications on the horizon. For professional programmers. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Ray Olson
The outstanding sections in Levertov's eighteenth collection are "Sojourns in the Parallel World" and "Close to a Lake," which contain, respectively, poems about nature and religious poems. For Levertov, nature is a reality parallel to human activity, a source of renewal not just for the human consciousness that retreats to it, but also, in the poems, for such hoary metaphors as a breeze that caresses see "In Summer" and raindrops that become jewels in the light see "Bearing the Light" . When she turns to religion, as she has in her last several collections, she reaffirms the Christian mysteries indeed, reaffirms miracles in "On Belief in the Physical Resurrection of Jesus" and the essentiality of mysticism, but also this time ventures "A Heresy" --"I see no reason why purgatory / may not be reincarnation" --which, however, she resolves in "the common resurrection" of conventional Christian eschatology. In other sections are poems about music, spring, memory, and political protest; all are technically marvelous, for Levertov remains the best free verse poet writing in English.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811221887
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 3/30/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,219,711
  • File size: 461 KB

Meet the Author

Denise Levertov (1923-1997) was a British born American poet. She wrote and published 20 books of poetry, criticism, translations. She also edited several anthologies. Among her many awards and honors, she received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Frost Medal, the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Lannan Award, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.
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