There You Are

There You Are

by Louis Simpson

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A joy of narrative poetry is its capacity to deliver complexity within a simple forward-moving framework. Simpson, writing masterfully at the peak of a long and prize-winning career (e.g., Pulitzer and Prix de Rome), introduces us to characters conjured from his years in academia, his work in the publishing business and from trips abroad. This cast calls to mind the dramatis personae of Raymond Carver, each going about daily life, absorbing agonies and pleasures that then absorb both author and reader. Combining straightforward diction with oblique insights, Simpson limns people and stories with an irony tempered by compassion. ``Stairs,'' an exchange with a carpenter whose athlete son died after climbing five flights, ends simply: ``He is a man/ with a great deal on his mind.'' Underpinning the collection is the poet's own search for significance among his experiences. He is not above ending a piece with a ``So What?'' or a ``What for?'' as he repeatedly wonders aloud about the value of living. It seems a stable stance, hard-earned, inarguable. (Sept.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
A distinguished poet and essayist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for At the End of the Road, Simpson (b. 1923) remains allusive, antielitist, mellow, and keenly observant. His ruminative songs have a perceptive, understated wit that is hard to maintain "in a struggle to the death." Between despair and knowingness, a Simpson poem has a William Carlos Williams-like interest in "those people in the street/who stay up all night long." It's pleasant to be in the company of this vigorous humanist, who seems to fathom the importance of experience down to a marvelous, irreducible core. His illuminating, unfussy stories about Russian pogroms, lonely immigrants, belly dancers, "lost souls," and "plain-faced" schlemiels document a hidden, vanished side of American urban life. What Simpson hears in a rain storm describes his own vision: "Be afraid/and know yourselves." Highly recommended.Frank Allen, West Virginia State Coll., Institute

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Product Details

Story Line Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.34(d)

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