American Melancholy

American Melancholy

by Joyce Carol Oates


$23.99 $26.99 Save 11% Current price is $23.99, Original price is $26.99. You Save 11%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, January 19


Notes From Your Bookseller

Joyce Carol Oates documents our precious lives with an exacting eye to detail. She uses the tools of poetry like a master builder. From the biography of a poem, “To Marlon Brando in Hell,” to a plaintive and loving tribute to her late husband, “Palliative,” Oates writes poetry as expertly as she does fiction. In addition, she tips her hat to William Carlos Williams, Christopher Smart and Billy Collins. To read American Melancholy is to get a history, literature and civic lesson all within 128 pages. This is a solid book of poetry to be held in high esteem.

A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years

Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history.

Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short stories, many of which have become contemporary classics. However, Oates has also always been a faithful writer of poetry. American Melancholy showcases some of her finest work of the last few decades.

Covering subjects big and small, and written in an immediate and engaging style, this collection touches on both the personal and political. Loss, love, and memory are investigated, along with the upheavals of our modern age, the reality of our current predicaments, and the ravages of poverty, racism, and social unrest. Oates skillfully writes characters ranging from a former doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army hospital to Little Albert, a six-month-old infant who took part in a famous study that revealed evidence of classical conditioning in human beings. 

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780063035263
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/09/2021
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 431,879
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the 2019 Jerusalem Prize, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.


Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

June 16, 1938

Place of Birth:

Lockport, New York


B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Table of Contents

I The Coming Storm

In Hemp-Woven Hammocks Reading the Nation 3

Exsanguination 4

Little Albert, 1920 5

Harlow's Monkeys 10

Obedience: 1962 15

Loney 19

The Coming Storm 22

Edward Hopper's "Eleven A.M.," 1926 24

II The First Room

The First Room 33

Sinkholes 34

That Other 35

The Mercy 36

The Blessing 37

This Is not a Poem 38

Apocalypso 40

III American Melancholy

To Marlon Brando in Hell 45

Too Young to Marry But Not Too Young to Die 52

Doctor Help Me 57

Old America Has Come Home to Die 62

Jubilate: An Homage in Catterel Verse 67

Kite Poem 76

American Sign Language 77

Hometown Waiting For You 79

IV "This is the Time …"

Hatefugue 85

A Dream of Stopped-Up Drains 87

Bloodline, Elegy 92

Harvesting Skin 96

This is the Time for Which We Have Been Waiting" 100

The Tunnel 103

Palliative 107

Acknowledgments 111

Customer Reviews