Robert Bly's new collection of poetry is made of forty-eight poems written in the intricate form called the ghazal, which is the central poetic form in Islam. The influence of Hafez and Rumi is clear, and yet the poems descend into the wealth of Western history, referring at times to Monet, Giordano Bruno,Emerson, St. Francis, Newton, and Chekhov, as well as to events in Bly's own life. The leaping between joy and "ruin" produces a poetry which makes him, as Kenneth Rexroth noted, "one of the leaders in a poetic revival which has returned American literature to the world community."
About the Author
Robert Bly's books of poetry include The Night Abraham Called to the Stars and My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy. His awards include the National Book Award for poetry and two Guggenheims. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Read an Excerpt
The Night Abraham Called
to the Stars
to the Stars
To the stars? He cried to Saturn: "You are my Lord!"
How happy he was! When he saw the Dawn Star,
When he watched them set. Friends, he is like us:
We take as our Lord the stars that go down.
We are diggers, like badgers; we love to feel
The dirt flying out from behind our hind claws.
Beautiful. It is our badger soul that thinks so.
We are ready to spend the rest of our life
We resemble exiles in the kingdom of the serpent.
We stand in the onion fields looking up at the night.
Abandoned woman by night. Friend, tell me what to do,
Since I am a man in love with the setting stars.
This book is growing on me. I used to have it rated at three stars, but now it has been upped to four. Earlier, I was trying to make too much sense out of them instead of letting them flow as loosely created vignettes. I regularly read one of these before I go to sleep.
Walks into the strange clan. Her light pink fur bristles along the flower growth. Her clan, Cherryclan, needs food. She finds the food pile and sits longingly. She does not want to steal, so she is waiting for someone to come. She flicks her tail, as five cats walk into the clearing. "Waterstone? Mistypaw? Seniorgata? Willowreflect? And Runningclaw?! What are you doing here?" The leader perks her ears for Willowreflect to answer. "Doomshade sent us here to help you. He clearly pointed out that you were prepareing ambush." Blossomstar seemed confused. "Ambush? I just came to ask for fresh kill. Maybe six shrews or so," she told her warriors. The looked confused. "Okay, Blossomstar. I will tell Doomshade he was wrong." Blossomstar nodded as if to say yes, then stared off. Her clan needed food, fast.
Is this where a cat was supposed to be waiting for me?
Silently walks away....."my bad, wrong place."