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Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets

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Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts

Jorie Graham

"How I would like to catch the world / at pure idea," writes Jorie Graham, for whom a bird may be an alphabet, and flight an arc. Whatever the occasion--and her work offers a rich profusion of them--the poems reach to where possession is not within us, where new names are needed and meaning enlarged. Hence, what she sees reminds her of what is missing, and what she knows suggests what she cannot. From any event, she arcs bravely into the farthest reaches of mind. Fast readers will have trouble, but so what. To the good reader afraid of complexity, I would offer the clear trust that must bond us to such signal poems as (simply to cite three appearing in a row) "Mother's Sewing Box," "For My Father Looking for My Uncle," and "The Chicory Comes Out Late August in Umbria." Finally, the poet's words again: ". . . you get / just what you want" and (just before that), "Just as / from time to time / we need to seize again / the whole language / in search of / better desires."--Marvin Bell

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The Late Wisconsin Spring

John Koethe

"[Koethe's] new collection is that rarity, a book of poems with a genuine philosophical dimension and an elegant but conversational poise."--The New York Times Book Review

"Solemn and playful, John Koethe's poems lock themselves gradually but firmly into one's memory. His new collection offers in his own words, 'happiness, for myself and strangers.'"--John Ashbery

Originally published in 1984.

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.

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The New World

Frederick W. Turner

Set four hundred years in the future, Frederick Turner's epic poem, The New World, celebrates American culture in A.D. 2376.

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.

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Night Talk and Other Poems

Richard Pevear

"The first thing I recognize as the beginning of a poem," writes Richard Pevear, "is a distinct rhythm, not only of stress but of movement. Once I hear it, I can find words for it. But the essential thing, finally, is simultaneity—the completion of a shape, a thought, an emotion, a figure, all at the same time. The Trojan War, the figures of Greek tragedy, certain elements of the Gospels, the stories of Malory, are parts of my personal language."

Originally published in 1978.

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.

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Pass It On

Rachel Hadas

The poems in Rachel Hadas's new book are united by a common preoccupation with passage--passage variously construed. In Section I, the four seasons are glimpsed in turn through the lenses of several types of personal associations, especially parenthood. As spring gives way to fall and winter, separation looms; diverse kinds of temporary and permanent renewal come with spring, and the fifth poem in this section steps outside this cycle. In Section II, the phrase "pass it on" recalls the game "telephone," in which a word is whispered by one speaker to another. Here the poems focus on tradition, primarily as it is transmitted through teaching, but also through art and again parenthood. Thoughts on teaching specific texts (the Iliad, Dickinson's poems, Sophocles' Philoctetes) alternate with more personal moments of contemplation. Finally, in Section III "pass it on" comes to signify transition--whether between spring and summer, city and country, youth and age, presence and absence, or life and death.

From "Three Silences": Of all the times when not to speak is best, mother's and infant's is the easiest, the milky mouth still warm against her breast.

Before a single year has passed, he's well along the way: language has cast its spell. Each thing he sees now has a tale to tell.

A wide expanse of water-cean. Look! Next time, it seems that water is a brook. The world's loose leaves, bound up into a book.

Originally published in 1989.

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.

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Poems

Alvin Feinman

This volume of Alvin Feinman's poems presents a highly praised earlier work, Preambles and Other Poems, combined with more recent poems. Of Preambles Alan Tate wrote, "This is a remarkable first book. . . . there is an acute and subtle sensibility at work. 'Pilgrim Heights' is one of the best poems by an American that I have seen in many years.' ".

From "Pilgrim Heights"

Something, something, the heart here Misses, something it knows it needs Unable to bless--the wind passes; A swifter shadow sweeps the reeds, The heart a colder contrast brushes.

So this fool, face-forward, belly Pressed among the rushes, plays out His pulse to the dune's long slant Down from blue to bluer element, The bold encompassing drink of air

And namelessness, a length compound Of want and oneness the shore's mumbling Distantly tells--something a wing's Dry pivot stresses, carved Through barrens of stillness and glare.

Originally published in 1990.

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.

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The Power to Change Geography

Diana O'Hehir

Writing about poetry Diana Ó Hehir says, "I think of poetry as harnessed energy—as a marvelous way of taking the chaotic emotion, the turbulent perception, and recreating them as images that are specific, definite, directed. Miraculously, when this process works, it's one of expansion rather than diminution; the fortunate poet can reach out beyond the walls of separate personality into a general air that everyone breathes. I think of my own poetry as intense, imagistic, surreal, and personal, and try to write about perceptions which have pushed me toward change or renewal."

For the last six years Diana Ó Hehir has been writing poetry and has had poems published in Antaeus, Kayak, Poetry Northwest, and Southern Poetry Review.

Originally published in 1979.

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.

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Reservations

James Richardson

"The poems are elegies for everything, including myself," writes James Richardson. "Beyond this, I cannot pretend to be certain of much about them. I suppose they reflect a self with only a tenuous grip on its surroundings, threatened by their (and its own) continuous vanishing. The poems respond with a helplessness, fitful control, and not a little tenderness. Like the protagonists of The Encyclopedia of Stones: A Pastoral, I am very slow, both unsettled and inspired by the vertiginous strangeness and speed of events. I suspect these melancholy and disembodied poems are attempts to arrest the moment long enough to say farewell, to let things go rather than be subject to their disappearance."

Originally published in 1977.

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.

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Returning Your Call

Leonard Nathan

"Every poet has one or two compulsive themes," writes Leonard Nathan. "One of mine is how to make things fit together that don't but should; the other is getting down far enough below a surface to see if something is still worth praising. Over the years and without self-consciously trying. I have moved closer and closer to the human voice in my verse. But I have also tried to keep a quality in it—for lack of a better word, I call it eloquence—that makes it more than conversation. My hope is to be clear, true, and good listening."

Originally published in 1975.

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.

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River Writing

An Eno Journal

James Applewhite

"These poems are the waves emanating from the gravitational fall of my runs by the Eno river," writes James Applewhite, "and other travels, into a self I could not otherwise know. They are my repetitive song of belief in the possibility of presence in language.".

From "Observing the Sun":

On a bank overlooking the Eno,
I feel us as lightly aligned
As heads of the Queen Anne's lace,
Their congregation of angles.
Red sun, dilated, has us all
In its sights.
Against its horizon,
I spread my arms like a road sign
To mark earth where we are.

Originally published in 1989.

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.

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