Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey: Poems, 1991-1995

Overview

There can be no doubt that Hayden Carruth is one of the pre-eminent American poets of the late twentieth century. In these poems written since publication of his Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, he speaks with intimate and urgent clarity of love late in life, and in heartrending poems addresses his daughter's struggle against cancer. In others he engages the loves, friendships, and social concerns of a lifetime. With passion and pathos and great good humor, in ...
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Overview

There can be no doubt that Hayden Carruth is one of the pre-eminent American poets of the late twentieth century. In these poems written since publication of his Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, he speaks with intimate and urgent clarity of love late in life, and in heartrending poems addresses his daughter's struggle against cancer. In others he engages the loves, friendships, and social concerns of a lifetime. With passion and pathos and great good humor, in poems that could only be written by a mature poet at the height of his powers, Carruth achieves a nobility of vision that is rare in any age.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Carruth's latest collection revolves around a handful of familiar themes, all of which mingle and reconfigure throughout the poet's bittersweet, sometimes celebratory, occasionally rueful verse. Meditations on aging and love, nostalgia and guilt, contemporary politics and ancient history filter through much of this generally moving, uneven collection. Carruth's voice, always highly personal, is at its best when it mixes colloquial diction with an elegiac lyricism, as in his meditation on family history, "Flying into St. Louis": "For sixty-five years/ I've blamed my mother and father,/ I've climbed their trees and lopped off/ their branches, I've held/ their words in my mind like cudgels." At other times, however, the colloquial takes over and Carruth's verse becomes almost flat, as in "The Chain": "but I am a poet and you are too and so are all people/ except the monsters of this world/ out there planting/ mines in the mud and snow...." Despite its lesser offerings, the collection amply illustrates the openness and honesty with which Carruth addresses the world, the mixed compassion and outrage with which he responds to it and his continued productivity through a long, distinguished career. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Although Carruth here declares "Truth and Beauty/ were never the/ aims of proper poetry,'' there's plenty of both in this affecting volume. "When we say I/ miss you/ what we mean is "I'm/ filled with/ dread''; "Was it the way of your world, too, old master, that everyone had to be/ a villain in someone else's life?"; "This is the summer of war in Bosnia./ A few summers ago the war was somewhere else." Carruth drops such aphoristic insights with ease, and they hit like gentle little blows alerting us to what is at the heart of our experience. Every line is perfectly polishednot "crafted," which seems far too deliberate and forced a word for this easy-flowing poetry, but smoothed as if the words had been rolled around and around the tongue like good whiskey (and maybe even scrambled eggs). These poems, all written since the publication of Collected Shorter Poems, 1946-1991 (LJ 4/1/92), which won the National Book Award, demonstrate that Carruth is still at the top of his form. Recommended for all poetry collections.Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556591105
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Pages: 140
  • Sales rank: 696,714
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Hayden Carruth is the author of twenty-five books of poetry, a novel, four books of criticism, and two anthologies, and has held fellowships from the Bollingen, Guggenheim and Lannan foundations, as well as the NEA. His many awards include the National Book Award for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Lenore Marshall/The Nation Award.

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Table of Contents

Five-Thirty AM 3
Flying into St. Louis 4
Solemnization 5
Wife Poem 6
The Hyacinth Garden in Brooklyn 7
Another 9
The Soft Time of the Year 10
Birthday Cake 11
Quality of Wine 13
Resorts 14
California 15
A Summer with Tu Fu 17
Auburn Poem 30
August 1945 32
Snow Storm 33
Testament 35
Endnote 37
Folk Song: On the Road Again 38
Forty-Five 40
The Last Poem in the World 41
Homage to Edwin Muir 42
April Clean-Up 43
I, I, I 44
In Pharaoh's Tomb 45
Bennington Poem 46
Alteration 47
Ecstasy 48
February Morning 49
The Woodcut on the Cover of Robert Frost's Complete Poems 51
Particularity 52
Rubaiyat 53
Saturday at the Border 54
Surrealism 55
The Camps 57
Swept 64
The Best, the Most 65
The Brook 66
The Chain 67
Isabel's Garden, May 14 69
Lilac Time 71
The Curtain 72
Window Blind 74
Mort aux Belges! 75
Pittsburgh 76
Overlooking Pittsburgh 78
Faxes to William 79
Good Old Word Blues 86
Graves 87
Waterloo 88
What to Do 89
Notes on Poverty 90
Song: Now That She is Here 91
The Beat 92
In the Long Hall 93
The Woods 94
This Morning 95
Thorntrees 96
In Georgetown 97
Prepare 98
Little Citizen, Little Survivor 100
Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey 101
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2002

    It's the beat, baby

    Carruth writes with rhythm, the rhythm of the spoken word. My favorites: The Beat, and Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey. Good stuff.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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