Selected Poems

Selected Poems

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by James Wright
     
 

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The first selected poems of a major poet who "wrote with more heart than any other North American poet of the twentieth century" (Rodney Jones, Parnassus)

More than any other poet of his generation, James Wright spoke to the great sadness and hope that are inextricable from the iconography of America: its rail yards, rivers, cities, and once

Overview

The first selected poems of a major poet who "wrote with more heart than any other North American poet of the twentieth century" (Rodney Jones, Parnassus)

More than any other poet of his generation, James Wright spoke to the great sadness and hope that are inextricable from the iconography of America: its rail yards, rivers, cities, and once vast natural beauty. Speaking in the unique lyrical voice that he called his "Ohioan," Wright created poems of immense sympathy for sociey's alienated and outcast figures and also of ardent wonder at the restorative power of nature.

Selected Poems fills a significant gap in Wright's bibliography: that of an accessible, carefully chosen collection to satisfy both longtime readers and those just discovering his work. Edited and with an introduction by Wright's widow, Anne, and his close friend the poet Robert Bly, who also wrote an introduction, Selected Poems is a personal, deeply considered collection of work with pieces chosen from all of Wright's books. It is an overdue--and timely--new view of a poet whose life and work encompassed the extremes of American life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374529024
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
05/11/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
782,625
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

James Wright (1927-80) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972. His books include Saint Judas, Shall We Gather at the River, and The Branch Will Not Break. FSG published Above the River: The Complete Poems in 1992.

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Selected Poems 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
“Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass. And the eyes of those two Indian ponies Darken with kindness.” You may have heard this poem beginning from “A Blessing” by James Wright. James Wright was born in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio in 1927 and modeled his work off of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost. Throughout Wright’s life, he witnessed human suffering and poverty. These tragic events inspired and occur in many of his poems. In addition to “A Blessing”, James Wright wrote other poems such as “Autumn Begins in Martin’s Ferry, Ohio”, “I am a Sioux Indian Brave”, and “The Branch Will Not Brake”. The poem “A Blessing” is the story of two people (“To welcome my friend and me.”) on a highway in Rochester, Minnesota. When they spot two Indian ponies, the two friends over a fence (“barbed wire”) and begin to study the horses. When realizing the tight bond between the two ponies (“They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.”), the main character begins to feel comfortable and, “would like to hold the slenderer” one to his body. When the black and white pony nuzzles his hand, he feels comforted and cheerful, and if he stepped out of his body, he would, “break into a blossom” with the happiness within himself. Also, throughout the poem, the poet mentions many first person sayings such as, “I”. In my opinion, the, “I” is referring to the author, James Wright, because he brings a strong feeling as though he has experienced the poem’s scenery and events. As the piece goes on, the poet creates a feeling of warmness in each reader, which paints a flourish in the minds of all. The poem, “A Blessing” includes only one stanza. This poem is open form because of its unique structure, as well as the absence of a rhyme scheme. Although each verse has no rhyme, Wright welcomes the creativity in between the lines, having readers marvel at his exclusive work. In “A Blessing”, James Wright using many spectacular descriptions, for example saying, “young tufts of spring” instead of a simple word such as grass. In the sentence, “There is no loneliness like theirs,” it includes an Iambic rhythm, which consists of an unstressed, stressed pattern. The poet also uses, “They bow shyly as wet swans,” which is a simile. The theme of “A Blessing” by James Wright obtains the theme of peacefulness. Throughout the poem, the poet leaves hints that symbolize the main idea. For example, the two Indian ponies represent peace the world. Horses and ponies are known as a calm image, which helps improve the representation in the poem. In life today, war still occurs, even if we can’t change it. Wright explains this statement during the poem when using lines such as, “We step over the barbed wire into the pasture,” and, “They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness that we have come.” These lines interpret people stepping over life obstacles, or in the poem, barbed wire. Also, when the two ponies, “can hardly contain their happiness,” this explains that the rightful state of peace has not been visited for a while, and when people step over the line to grab the prize, Peace will gratefully accept the offer. This is also supported by the sentence, “There is no loneliness like theirs.” Although peace is eager to rejoin the world, it is also as delicate “as the skin over a girl’s wrist.” At the thought of having a peaceful world, the speaker is overjoyed, or, “would break into a blossom.” With a lifelike message and intricate words, “A Blessing” by James Wright will grab a reader’s hand and drag them into a world full of peace and meaning. Anyone that reads this poem will be at awe and say that if they stepped out of their bodies, they would break into blossom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago