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Overview

“Perfection is a rare accomplishment, particularly in American poetry, and the perfection of much of Hollander’s work makes it essential reading for anyone who genuinely cares for the craft of poetry.  But in our fallen world we seem fated to value power of perfection, and John Hollander’s poetry has shown a visionary power just often enough to secure him a place as one of the major figures of our moment.”
Vernon Shetley, The New Republic
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Selected Poetry

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Overview

“Perfection is a rare accomplishment, particularly in American poetry, and the perfection of much of Hollander’s work makes it essential reading for anyone who genuinely cares for the craft of poetry.  But in our fallen world we seem fated to value power of perfection, and John Hollander’s poetry has shown a visionary power just often enough to secure him a place as one of the major figures of our moment.”
Vernon Shetley, The New Republic
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The simultaneous publication of Hollander's latest work and his selected poems invites both a comparison and an appraisal of his career. The poet himself seems to be summing up his work and life; the subtext of Tesserae , sometimes buried under layers of form and allusion, is death. Hollander began as a formal poet, and has remained one, Audenesque in many respects. And while current poetic trends call for a structural looseness and emotional pitch that can be every bit as confining as formalism ever was, much of Hollander's power seems to have ebbed. A good formal poem binds the energy within it in productive, restless tension, as exemplified in his ``Late August on the Lido,'' a kind of Death in Venice in verse; here, Hollander shows that the power of experience can be enhanced by the form which recasts it. So also the frank and sometimes bitter eroticism of ``Sonnets for Roseblush,'' which shows how much room there is in form, if one is willing to push back. But the danger of formalism is that a poet can spend too much time just bouncing the ball off the backstop, and the peril of erudition like Hollander's is a gradual avoidance of the unknown. In Tesserae , a series of freestanding quatrains, form seems to have overwhelmed content, and the images are often remote from reality. It is hard to conceive of a ``laureate earth'' which ``hums elegies and lies about each life,'' still more so ``bookish snow,'' and ``the lively poison / Of interestingness.'' Increasingly, Hollander's poems resort to inversion, polysyllabic rhymes and the accents of another age, though some recover the facility and eloquence of his earlier work: ``The self-sustaining ardor of a bright / Candle-flame, steady in this windless night, / Reflected in its tiny cup of oil: / It draws from its own image heat and light.'' (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307805157
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/2/2012
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • File size: 2 MB

Table of Contents

Kinneret 3
The Mad Potter 9
Blue Wind 109
August Carving 113
Some of the Parts 114
Spectral Emanations 117
On the Calendar 157
Nocturne 162
Collected Novels 164
The Lady of the Castle 168
The Angler's Story 170
After an Old Text 171
Looking East on Twelfth Street 172
The Way We Walk Now 175
A Week in the Country 176
About the House 177
Keepsakes 178
End of a Chapter 180
The Old Pier-Glass 181
After Flood Damage 182
Crocus Solus 183
Something Wrong down at the Pond 184
In Place of Body 185
Figures of Speech. Figures of Thought. Figures of Earth and Water 186
The Boat 187
Over the Hills and Far Away 188
The Dancing Shadows 189
Not Something for Nothing 190
Patches of Light Life Shadows of Something 191
A View of the Ruins 192
A House in the Tropics 193
Memories of the Grand Tour 194
Asylum Avenue 195
Building a Tower 196
In Place of Place 197
The Head of the Bed 201
The Shades 211
Tales Told of the Fathers 214
Being Alone in the Field 217
Rotation of Crops 218
The Ziz 219
Cohen on the Telephone 221
A Season in Hellas 223
Mount Bland 224
Officers' Quarters 227
The Problem of Pain 228
Examples 230
Breadth. Circle. Desert. Monarch. Month. Wisdom 235
Kranich and Bach 237
The Muse in the Monkey Tower 238
Sonnets for Roseblush 243
The Night Mirror 251
Under Cancer 252
Under Capricorn 253
At the New Year 255
The Bird (from the Yiddish of Moishe Leib Halpern) 257
The Will (from the Yiddish of Moishe Leib Halpern) 259
Letter to Borges 261
Granny Smith 264
His Master's Voice 265
Adam's Task 267
Proem: A New Life 271
Waiting 273
Fireworks 275
The Ninth of July 277
Humming 280
The Ninth of Ab 282
Sunday Evenings 284
Helicon 286
West End Blues 289
Glass Landscape 291
From the Ramble 293
Movie-Going 305
Aristotle to Phyllis 310
Hobbes, 1651 313
Digging it Out 313
A Lion Named Passion 316
Off Marblehead 319
Race Rock Light 320
For Both of You 325
The Lady's Maid's Song 327
Late August on the Lido 328
A Theory of Waves 328
The Great Bear 329
Notes 333
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