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What the Darkness Proposes: Poems

Overview

"Martin is a moralist in the best sense of the word, a poet concerned with defining human values in a changing society, making his points with wit as well as compassion. He is not afraid of using ideas in verse and brings his intelligence as well as imagination to bear on each poem."--Dana Gioia

In this new collection by poet and translator Charles Martin, a darkly comic vision engages an unpredictable variety of subjects in poems of astute technical assurance. In this book, the reader will find a displaced ...

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Overview

"Martin is a moralist in the best sense of the word, a poet concerned with defining human values in a changing society, making his points with wit as well as compassion. He is not afraid of using ideas in verse and brings his intelligence as well as imagination to bear on each poem."--Dana Gioia

In this new collection by poet and translator Charles Martin, a darkly comic vision engages an unpredictable variety of subjects in poems of astute technical assurance. In this book, the reader will find a displaced snapping turtle, advertisements that look back at us, the link between classical Athens and a television quiz show, and many other wonders, including the unsettling possibility of a poetry reading

"Whose audience consists of... you. There's only one of you, I see. One would have hoped there might be two. One ought to be outnumbered by One's audience, don't you agree? The two of us, then? You and I? Will no one else be dropping in? I thought as much. Then let's begin... "

Praise for Passages from Friday: "Martin's Friday... is a wholly successful characterization. His plain speech and plebeian misspellings, his notional capitals and italics compromise... a style that realizes and projects the speaker's character, a tour de force in which style embodies vision."--Daniel Hoffman, in Words to Create a World

Praise forThe Poems of Catullus: "[A] translation that successfully recreates in English the wit, the lyric exaltation, the playful banter, the despair, the scurrilous invective, and the dramatic flair of the original, all of it moving easily in artfully contrived and skillfully controlled English equivalents of Catullus' many and variedmeters."--Bernard Knox, New York Review of Books

"Martin is an American poet; he puts the poetry, the immediacy of the street, back into English Catullus. The effect is electric."--Newsweek

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like a handsome stranger spotted from across a dimly lit room, this book at first holds promise of being mysterious and deep. The cryptic opening poem, "For a Child of Seven, Taken by the Jesuits," moves between worlds of knowledge and innocence("The little criminal is seized and shaken/ Like a globe of snow"). But by as early as the third poem, "Victoria's Secret," the lights have come up to reveal a shallow arena of light verse, resplendent with end rhyme and iambic feet that force archaic structure and unneeded prepositions upon the poet's lines. A typical stanza, from a very lengthy meditation of a trip to a writer's colony, begins, "A cup of coffee, then a second/ Which I take back into my study./ By now I've pretty much awakened,/ I'm sitting at my writing table/ With pencils sharpened, notebook ready:/ `Baker, Baker, this is Able...'" There is wit here, but it is squandered on the kind of overweaning obviousness one hears in the middle of a blind date going badly. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801854873
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Series: Poetry and Fiction Series
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Martin

Charles Martin 's poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, Boulevard, The Threepenny Review, and Poetry. A recipient of grants from the Ingram Merrill Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, he is the author of four previous collections of poems, including Steal the Bacon, and the translator of The Poems of Catullus, both available from Johns Hopkins.

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Table of Contents

For a Child of Seven, Taken by the Jesuits 3
Breaking Old Ground 4
Victoria's Secret 7
Tonight's Jeopardy 8
Souvenirs of the Late War 9
A Night at the Opera 10
Getting the Miracle Wrong 12
Flying Heads 13
Beauty 15
Death with a Coda 16
The Two of Them 17
The Philosopher's Balloon 19
A Walk in the Hills above the Artists' House 23
Reflections after a Dry Spell 57
Modernism: The Short Course 58
At Home with Psyche and Eros 59
Vain Speculations 60
Still Life with Pears 61
To a Snapping Turtle, Lately Hatched 62
Stanzas after Endgame 64
Acknowledgments 71
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