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Selected Poems

Selected Poems

by Ted Berrigan, Alice Notley (Introduction), Aram Saroyan (Editor)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Berrigan (1934-1983) was a prolific poet and, many feel, a major figure of the second generation New York School poets. The highlight of this collection is its grand finale, a hefty selection from Berrigan's 1967 volume, The Sonnets , which changed the perception of poetry for many of its younger practitioners. The poems bear no resemblance to traditional sonnets other than (usually) being 14 lines; one can see how this uniform length and line enabled Berrigan in these early poems to withstand diversion and tomake sense out of the disorder of day-to-day goings-on. Later poems are longer, meandering in no direction and every direction at once. Fragments of songs and classic poems are inserted, adding a new and often humorous context: ``I woke up this morning / it was night / you were on my mind / on the radio.'' While often seeming juvenile, this casual effect is used to its best advantage in a few poems that turn suddenly serious, such as a sensitive elegy for his father. This volume is just long enough to display most of Berrigan's tricks yet draws to a close before readers become bored. It includes an introduction by poet Alice Notley, Berrigan's widow. (Mar.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Berrigan, who died in 1983 at the age of 48, was a pivotal figure in the flourishing New York poetry scene of the 1960s. Like Frank O'Hara, he wrote high-spirited poems chronicling everyday life in a city where ``love can stay for only a minute/ then has to go, to get some work done.'' Alternately funny, pensive, energetic, and dreamy, these works reflect a life thoroughly consumed by the pleasure and pain of creating poetry. Although much of the collection is composed in the fanciful surrealist style that marks the second generation of the New York School, the most powerful lines are disarmingly direct: ``Love, and work,/were my great happinesses, that other people die the source/ of my great, terrible, & inarticulate one grief.'' Berrigan originally published most of his work in dozens of small press books, making this single-volume selection valuable to libraries with a strong focus on contemporary poetry.-- Christine Stenstrom, Shea & Gould Law Lib., New York

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Poets, Penguin Series
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.44(d)

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