In this Book

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Winner of the Voelcker Award (PEN America) (2016)

In To See the Earth Before the End of the World Ed Roberson presents us with 120 new poems, each speaking in his unique voice and seen through his unique eye. Earth and sky, neighborhood life and ancient myths, the art of seeing and the architecture of the imagination are all among the subjects of these poems. Recurring images and ideas construct a complex picture of our world, ourselves, and the manifold connections tying them together. The poems raise large questions about the natural world and our place in it, and they do not flinch from facing up to those questions.

Roberson’s poems range widely through different scales of time and space, invoking along the way history and myth, galaxies and garbage trucks, teapots and the history of photography, mating cranes and Chicago's political machine. This collection is composed of five sequences, each developing a particular constellation of images and ideas related to the vision of the whole. Various journeys become one journey—an epic journey, invoking epic themes. There are songs of creation, pictures of the sorrows of war, celebrations of human labor and human society, a respect for tools and domestic utensils that are well made, the deep background of the past tingeing the colors of the present, and the tragic tones of endings and laments, a pervading awareness of the tears in things. Most of all, there is the exhilaration of a grand, sweeping vision that enlarges our world.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page
  2. p. iii
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  1. Copyright
  2. p. iv
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  1. CONTENTS
  2. pp. v-viii
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  1. PART I - TOPOI
  2. p. 1
  1. TO SEE THE EARTH BEFORE THE END OF THE WORLD
  2. p. 3
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  1. 1. MORNING
  2. pp. 4-6
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  1. 2. DEEP TIME
  2. p. 7
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  1. 3. PLANETARIUM
  2. p. 8
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  1. 4. LUNAR ECLIPSE
  2. pp. 9-10
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  1. 5. TOPOI
  2. pp. 11-12
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  1. 6. MANY LOCATIONS
  2. p. 13
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  1. 7. THE $$-MEN
  2. p. 14
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  1. 8. The instant though, is ours
  2. p. 15
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  1. 9. OLD DEPENDENCY
  2. pp. 16-17
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  1. 10. PROTO-PYRAMID FIGURE
  2. p. 18
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  1. 11. WHAT WORD
  2. pp. 19-21
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  1. WE LOOK AT THE WORLD TO SEE THE EARTH
  2. p. 22
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  1. PART II - THE WORLD, THEN
  2. p. 23
  1. ABOUT WHAT’S THIS
  2. p. 25
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  1. The world then
  2. p. 26
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  1. Facing up to
  2. p. 27
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  1. We see the farther away
  2. p. 28
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  1. A haze you can’t see by the sky
  2. p. 29
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  1. He wore his glasses
  2. p. 30
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  1. The wall stores
  2. p. 31
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  1. As if all physical display were not that
  2. p. 32
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  1. For all the questions
  2. p. 33
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  1. help / answered with
  2. p. 34
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  1. More than a few seconds after
  2. p. 35
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  1. Teapot Boiling, How to Begin the Day
  2. p. 36
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  1. A clay pot arrives at the table
  2. p. 37
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  1. Clock death on every corner
  2. p. 38
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  1. a wall turned in the fever sun
  2. p. 39
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  1. The flies cleaning their multiple eye
  2. p. 40
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  1. the split in the head
  2. p. 41
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  1. With bushes for thick glasses / But we can see
  2. p. 42
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  1. A thin line drawn on the morning
  2. p. 43
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  1. “There are things that I would otherwise..."
  2. p. 44
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  1. Distance works
  2. p. 45
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  1. spiral galaxies
  2. p. 46
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  1. the level/ some people
  2. p. 47
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  1. A swaying path
  2. p. 48
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  1. The red spot on two mating cranes
  2. p. 49
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  1. To wear the moment costumed
  2. p. 50
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  1. Stopped against
  2. p. 51
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  1. The lathe that turns the necks
  2. p. 52
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  1. A cloud is whatever it is
  2. p. 53
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  1. A lamp’s fingers
  2. p. 54
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  1. Its 93 million miles
  2. p. 55
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  1. Inside our moment
  2. p. 56
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  1. PART III - CHROMATIC SEQUENCES
  2. p. 57
  1. 1 Form in early movies / i What Color
  2. pp. 59-60
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  1. 2 we were not seeing movement / ii About the trees bending
  2. pp. 61-62
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  1. 3 Chromatic Spatiality / iii The spaces of color
  2. pp. 63-64
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  1. 4 1948: Art and Third Grade / iv not in the Folkways Collection
  2. pp. 65-66
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  1. 5 Darkly
  2. p. 67
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  1. 6 The Metaphor of Impressionism / vi your skin
  2. pp. 68-69
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  1. 7 advances in latitude / vii The still green latitude
  2. pp. 70-71
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  1. WHAT THE TREE TOOK, ON THE TABLE
  2. p. 72
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  1. 8 Drawing on What Is There
  2. p. 73
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  1. 9 Question to the Director
  2. p. 74
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  1. 10 Architectural Drawing
  2. pp. 75-76
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  1. 11 Architectural Program / xi travel structure
  2. p. 78
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  1. 12 The building is up
  2. p. 79
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  1. 13 the list of if
  2. p. 80
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  1. PROFIT FULFILLED
  2. p. 81
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  1. MAN WITH THREE DEGREES
  2. p. 82
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  1. PART IV - PLAYGROUND AND PARKS DEPARTMENT MUSIC
  2. p. 83
  1. EGG GATHERERS
  2. p. 85
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  1. WAR SONG, CHILD’S FLUTE
  2. p. 86
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  1. THIS YEAR
  2. p. 87
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  1. NOTHING NEW
  2. p. 88
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  1. NEW WORLD ORCHESTRA
  2. p. 89
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  1. SONG
  2. p. 90
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  1. NEW WORLD ORCHESTRA IN THE MARKET OF THE WEAVERS
  2. pp. 91-92
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  1. 1. piano - IN THE LOBBY, NOT THE DOORMAN
  2. p. 93
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  1. 2. bass - URBAN SPECIFIC
  2. p. 94
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  1. 3. saxophone - THEN THERE’S THIS ONE, PICK HIM UP
  2. p. 95
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  1. 4. drums - TITHES FOR CHARITY
  2. p. 96
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  1. Summer boats, migrating
  2. p. 97
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  1. SIGHT READ ON A COUPLE STARS
  2. pp. 98-99
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  1. (“Ring! . . .”)
  2. p. 100
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  1. TRANSIT AUTHORITY
  2. pp. 101-102
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  1. NINE CHICAGO POEMS
  2. pp. 103-113
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  1. 6:03 a.m.
  2. p. 113
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  1. FLOCK LIFE
  2. p. 114
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  1. NOLAN
  2. p. 115
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  1. RELATIVE TIME
  2. p. 116
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  1. GAUNTLET
  2. p. 117
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  1. ALL AT ONCE
  2. p. 118
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  1. MACHINERY
  2. p. 119
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  1. CENTRIPETAL FORCE
  2. p. 120
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  1. ON THE SPARROW: NO BLAME
  2. p. 121
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  1. SFUMATO
  2. p. 122
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  1. PLAYGROUND AND PARKS DEPARTMENT MUSIC
  2. pp. 123-124
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  1. PART V - OF THE EARTH
  2. p. 125
  1. A LOW BANK OF CLOUD
  2. pp. 127-128
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  1. WATCHING FOR THE ANCESTORS
  2. p. 129
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  1. OF THE EARTH
  2. p. 130
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  1. SONG TO ANUBIS
  2. p. 131
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  1. ROAD IKON
  2. pp. 132-133
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  1. RUN
  2. p. 134
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  1. THE HEAVENS
  2. pp. 135-136
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  1. THE ORIGINAL DEED
  2. p. 137
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  1. CHORUS
  2. pp. 138-139
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  1. TRIBAL TAG
  2. p. 140
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  1. BOY GOD QUETZALCOATL WATER SHAPE STOOD
  2. pp. 141-142
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  1. LAST OF THE BUSH BATHS
  2. p. 145
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  1. AS A TOOL OF THE LANDSCAPE . . .
  2. p. 146
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  1. FEAST OF THE MISSING
  2. p. 147
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  1. IMPONDERABLE THIRST
  2. p. 148
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  1. PSALM
  2. p. 149
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  1. FLIGHT RECORD
  2. pp. 150-151
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  1. AT THE TOP OF THE CHAIN
  2. pp. 152-153
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  1. THE BIRD THAT WALKS ON LILY PADS
  2. pp. 154-155
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  1. EARTHENWARE
  2. p. 156
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  1. AS AT THE FAR EDGE OF CIRCLING
  2. p. 157
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  1. A SLIM VOLUME TAKEN INTO THE PROVINCES
  2. pp. 158-159
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  1. EMPTY SKY
  2. p. 160
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  1. ABOUT THE AUTHOR
  2. p. 163
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780819571014
Related ISBN
9780819569509
MARC Record
OCLC
728183439
Pages
180
Launched on MUSE
2012-02-08
Language
English
Open Access
No
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