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Temples and Fields

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
An impressive first collection by a poet who has appeared in all the ``right '' places, from Paris Review to Grand Street , written, accordingly, with a high verbal gift and the current disappointing preference for description over human content. Some poems, like the lengthy ``Stairwell,'' can be tediously abstract, but many are wonderful. In ``The Paperweight,'' the poet assumes the persona of a paperweight watched by a human being: ``For I compromise the stillness/ she wants to break, getting out of/ her heavy head the storm she loves to make.'' In the lovely ``Night Coach'' the poet finds an instant of comfort among people who will leave the train for a world that cannot be bothered to answer their vain cries for freedom; here form and content match beautifully. A poet to watch, and recommended. Bettina Drew, City Coll., CUNY
From the Publisher

"A lost age of gold haunts these deft and intense poems. At their best they show us how to claim it for our own."--James Merrill

"Temples and Fields has any number of finely constructed ideas, sanctuaries for this poet's devoted intelligence—and all around them stretches an inviting expanse of natural detail. As we move among Phillis Levin's cool, stately, fluted lines, their marble miraculously 'embeds . . . its igneous past, / Being made of what it was not.' We emerge refreshed, believing, grateful."--J. D. McClatchy

"Over the surface of these poems the play of light and shadow is traced with steely delicacy, and yet they're big-hearted and tough-minded poems. Their maker is already an accomplished stylist, and too mature to show off her formidable skills; instead, she uses them . . . . Phillis Levin's debut should be met with gratitude."--William Matthews

"Her fierce intellect sanctifies the brilliant architecture of these poems with a promise of love."--Molly Peacock

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820310527
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1988
  • Series: Contemporary Poetry Ser.
  • Pages: 96

Meet the Author


Phillis Levin is the author of three other collections of poems: The Afterimage, Mercury, and May Day. She is the editor of The Penguin Book of the Sonnet. Her many honors include the Poetry Society of America's Norma Farber First Book Award (for Temples and Fields), a Fulbright Fellowship to Slovenia, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She lives in New York, is a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Hofstra University, and also teaches in the graduate creative writing program at New York University.
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