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Ark Cover

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John Isles's Ark is about the people and events that pass through a life, leaving a void; about finding a presence in that absence and waking up to the realities of the present moment. It is concerned, at its watery heart, with discovery and confrontation, uncovering and witnessing, whether it be the new world, “the world behind every blouse,” or the tender mysteries that can only be seen through the eyes of belief: that which “starts the wild grasses trembling.”

With its deft maneuvers through both a historical and an emotional landscape, Ark speaks to us with a truly contemporary voice of authoritative vulnerability while never faltering into sentimental digressions. This uncanny authority at the helm of our ark continually surprises us, unfolding its lyrical gems and treasures culled along the journey, letting us in on the inscrutable facts of this life.

The Army of Truth Cover

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The Army of Truth

Selected Poems

Henrik Wergeland

One of Norway’s most celebrated literary figures of the nineteenth century, Henrik Wergeland worked tirelessly for the civil rights of Jews in Norway. He used the words and structure of his poetry to enliven the ideals of truth, freedom, and equality. This translated volume, containing several of Wergeland’s most prominent poems, beautifully encapsulates the compelling force of his message, allowing its enduring influence to benefit a wider contemporary audience.

Art and Politics/Politics and Art Cover

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Art and Politics/Politics and Art

D.H. Melhem

Probing, wide-ranging, brimming with passion and outrage, Melhem’s eighth collection of poems grips the reader with accounts of individual triumphs and the ongoing catastrophic conflicts of our world. The author draws on her years as a painter and sculptor to bring a distinct visual and tactile quality to her poetry. In this volume, Melhem proceeds from robust individual portraits through observable terrains to traumatic visions of war. "Certain Personae" ranges from black writers to Abraham Lincoln, from a portrait of the suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the poetry of John Updike, and finishes with paintings of Hannibal crossing the Alps. In "Mostly Political," the poems traverse the local and the universal: melting polar ice caps, capitalism, a painting by Max Ernst interpreted in antithetical ways, and a poem surveying Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the context of international events. "Wars," the third and last section, gives intimate and searing glimpses of the Trojan War, World War I, the Gulf War, the Iraq war, and the conflict over Palestine.

The Art of Gravity Cover

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The Art of Gravity


Jay Rogoff

George Balanchine, one of the twentieth century's foremost choreographers, strove to make music visible through dance. In The Art of Gravity, Jay Rogoff extends this alchemy into poetry, discovering in dancing -- from visionary ballets to Lindy-hopping at a drunken party -- the secret rhythms of our imaginations and the patterns of our lives.

The poems unfold in a rich variety of forms, both traditional and experimental. Some focus on how Edgar Degas's paintings expose the artifice and artistic self-consciousness of ballet while, paradoxically, illuminating how it creates rapture. Others investigate dance's translation of physical gesture into allegorical mystery, especially in Balanchine's matchless works. Rogoff pays tribute to superb dancers who grant audiences seductive glimpses of the sublime and to all of us who find in dance a redemptive image of ourselves.

The poet reveals dance as an "art of gravity" in the illusory weightlessness of a "dance that ends in mid-air," in the clumsiness of a Latin dance class's members "trip- / ping over each other in the high school / gym," and in the exploration of ultimate Gravity -- a sonnet sequence titled "Danses Macabres." Ultimately, Rogoff confronts with unflinching precision the dark consummation of all our dancing.

The Art of Poetry Cover

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The Art of Poetry

Paul Valéry

All of the major meditations on the theory and practice of poetry by one of the greatest poets of our time--and perhaps the one who has most scrupulously analyzed his art--are included in The Art of Poetry.

Originally published in 1985.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Arts of a Cold Sun Cover

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Arts of a Cold Sun


In these poems, G. E. Murray blends the colors of the soul with those of the world it brushes up against, exploring the ways in which art, both as possession and possessor, informs perception._x000B_Viewing his subjects sometimes from airplane altitude, sometimes from the intimacy of a shared restaurant table, Murray crafts true stories about color,? narratives of dislocation and belonging that invite readers to question their own relationship to art._x000B_Included in this volume is a long sequential poem titled The Seconds,? which Murray composed across the second days of thirteen months. The rhythms of this diary-as-poem seize the tensions of shifting times and locales, capturing the essences of moments that are at once chosen and arbitrary._x000B_Codes toward an Incidental City,? the sequence that closes the book, is a confederacy of forty poems that delve into the concrete familiarities and mythologies of urban landscapes, illuminating the ecstasies of city life._x000B_

Ascending Order Cover

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Ascending Order

By William Greenway

Ascending Order is the work of a poet in midcareer who has thought hard about the circumstances of his past and present, and found an attitude, part concerned and part amused, that serves him well in both his life and his art. The poems in William Greenway’s new book range widely, from memories of childhood and family through meditations on works of art, from humourous topics such as the cars in Hell’s garage or a dead celebrity golf tournament to deep-felt contemplations of cultures American and otherwise or the ailments of middle age and the shadows of mortality. But whether the subjects are serious or playful, the rich vision and inventive language displayed in these poems are Greenway’s alone.

Ascension Theory Cover

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Ascension Theory

Christopher Bolin

“This meditation,” writes Christopher Bolin in Ascension Theory,“is about appearing without motes between us: / it is practice for presenting oneself to God.” Bolin’s stark and masterful debut collection records a deeply moving attempt to restore poetry to the possibilities of redemptive action. The physical and emotional landscapes of these poems, rendered with clear-eyed precision, are beyond the reaches of protection and consolation: tundra, frozen sea, barren woodlands, skies littered with satellite trash, fields marked by abandoned, makeshift shrines, sick rooms, vacant reaches that provide “nodes / in every direction // for sensing // the second coming.”

Bolin’s eye and mind are acutely tuned to the edges of broken objects and vistas, to the mysterious remnants out of which meaningful speech might be reconstituted. These poems unfold in a world of beautiful, crystalline absence, one that is nearly depopulated, as though encountered in the aftermath of an unnamed violence to the land and to the soul.

In poems of prodigious elegance and anxious control, Bolin evokes influences as various as Robert Frost, James Wright, Robert Hass, George Oppen, and Robert Creeley, while fashioning his own original and urgent idiom, one that both theorizes and tests the prospects of imaginative ascension, and finds “new locutions for referencing / sky.”

Ashes & Stars Cover

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Ashes & Stars

Daniel Hughes Edited by Mary Hughes Foreword by Edward Hirsch Introduction by Michael Scrivener

Daniel Hughes's final volume of poetry, written during his years of struggle with multiple sclerosis, displays his characteristic wit, intelligence, and imagination. While the poems in Ashes & Stars deal with themes such as love and mortality, the conflict between imagination and actuality, and the pleasures of the world around us, they are never somber or overly serious. Even the shortest ones have a wry comic sense. Additionally, Hughes's poems demonstrate a remarkably economical and precise use of language, without a wasted word in the entire collection. Although the concentrated emotion of the poems may remind readers of Emily Dickinson and Robert Lowell, Hughes's poetic forms-quatrains, tercets, irregular sonnets, irregular rhymes-also illustrate the deep influence of the English Romantics, whom he championed throughout his academic career. In addition, many poems draw inspiration from numerous individuals and works of art from the Italian Renaissance, as they weave abstract themes from Western culture with the sensual data of the poet's experience. Despite these deep historical and literary roots, the conversational tone of Ashes & Stars ensures that it is never dry or academic. The poems speak to the reader as to an intimate, giving a sense of transmitting hard-earned experience and knowledge. All readers will appreciate the passionate energy and worldly air of these unique and exactingly honest final poems.

Assembling The Lyric Self Cover

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Assembling The Lyric Self

Authorship from Troubadour Song to Italian Poetry Book

Olivia Holmes

Assembling the Lyric Self investigates the transition in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries from the first surviving Provençal and Italian manuscripts (mostly multiauthor lyric anthologies prepared by scribes) to the single-author codex-that is, to the form we now think of as the book of poems. Working from extensive archival and philological research, Olivia Holmes explores the efforts of individual poets to establish poetic authenticity and authority in the context of expanding vernacular literacy. As she moves from an overview to a consideration of particular authors (including Guittone d’Arezzo and Nicolo de’Rossi) and manuscripts, she both demonstrates the narrative and structural subtlety of many of the works and reveals unsuspected phases in a gradual historical shift.

Assembling the Lyric Self challenges received ideas about the origins of a genre (the author-ordered poetry book) and about periodization, including the traditional opposition between medieval conformity and Renaissance individualism. A major reassessment and redefinition of an entire tradition, this book will be essential reading for scholars not only of the Middle Ages but also of the early modern period whose precedents this book realigns.

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