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The Shadow of Siriusby W. S. Merwin
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Featured on NPR's "Fresh Air" and "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" on PBS.
Honored as one of the "Best Books of the Year" from Publishers Weekly.
"In his personal anonymity, his strict individuated manner, his defense of the earth, and his heartache at time's passing, Merwin has become instantly recognizable on the page; he has made for himself that most difficult of creations, an accomplished style." —Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books
“Merwin is one of the great poets of our age.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"[The Shadow of Sirius is] the very best of all Merwin: I have been reading William since 1952, and always with joy." —Harold Bloom
"[Merwin's] best book in a decade—and one of the best outright... The poems... feel fresh and awake with a simplicity that can only be called wisdom." —Publishers Weekly
"Merwin's gentle wisdom and attentiveness to the world are alive as ever. These deeply reflective meditations move through light and darkness, old love and turning seasons to probe the core of human existence." —Orion
"[The Shadow of Sirius] shows the earthly possibilities of simple completeness in a writer's mature work. More than an achievement in poetry, this is an achievement in writing." —Harvard Review
The nuanced mysteries of light, darkness, presence, and memory are central themes in W.S. Merwin’s new book of poems. “I have only what I remember,” Merwin admits, and his memories are focused and profound—the distinct qualities of autumn light, a conversation with a boyhood teacher, well-cultivated loves, and “our long evenings and astonishment.” In “Photographer,” Merwin presents the scene where armloads of antique glass negatives are saved from a dumpcart by “someone who understood.” In “Empty Lot,” Merwin evokes a child lying in bed at night, listening to the muffled dynamite blasts of coal mining near his home, and we can’t help but ask: How shall we mine our lives?
somewhere the Perseids are falling
toward us already at a speed that would
burn us alive if we could believe it
but in the stillness after the rain ends
nothing is to be heard but the drops falling
W.S. Merwin, author of over fifty books, is America’s foremost poet. His last two books were honored with major literary awards: Migration won the National Book Award, and Present Company received the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress.
"In his best book in a decade — and one of the best outright — Merwin points his oracular, unpunctuated poems toward his own past, admitting, 'I have only what I remember,' and offering what may be his most personal, generous and empathic collection. Somehow, he manages to dissolve the boundaries between one time and another, seeming to look forward to the past or remember what has yet to happen, as in a recollection of traveling to Europe by boat and seeing 'a warship I recognized/ from a model of it I had made/ when I was a child/ and beyond it/ there was a road down the cliff/ that I would descend some years later/ and recognize it/ there we were all together/ one time.' The poems show the marks of having weathered '...the complete course/ of life,' but also feel fresh and awake with a simplicity that can only be called wisdom: 'the morning is too/ beautiful to be anything else.' Gorgeous poems about enduring love melt time as well, looking toward a moment when 'we will be no older than we ever were.' These are among Merwin's best poems, because, as he says, 'it is the late poems/ that are made of words/ that have come the whole way/ they have been there.' (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Merwin is American poetry's eminence gris--winner of every major literary prize this country offers.
A new collected volume from the Nobel Prize-winning poet, with over 30 poems never previously published together in English, including the 13 poems from the final Polish collection, Enough.
With The Gone and the Going Way, Pulitzer finalist Maurice Manning returns us to the beloved and lamented lives and landscape of the hill people of his native Kentucky.
Welcome to “Fog Town Holler,” Pulitzer Prize finalist Maurice Mannings glorious rendering of a landscape not unlike his native Kentucky. Conjuring this mythical place from his own roots and memories — not unlike E. A. Robinsons Tilbury Town or Faulkners Yoknapatawpha County — Manning celebrates and echoes the voices and lives of his beloved hill people.
In Fog Town Holler men have “funny names,” like Tiny Too and Eula Loom. A fox is known as Redleg Johnny. A neighbor issues a complaint against an early-rising rooster; another lives in the chicken coop. “Lawse,” a woman exclaims, “the sun cant hardly find this place!” But they feel the Lord watching, always, as the green water of Shoestring Branch winds its way through hillbilly haunts and memories.
The real world no longer resembles the one brought so vividly to life in the poems in these pages, but through his meditations on his boyhood home, Manning is able to recapture what was lost and still, yet, move beyond it. He brings light to this place the sun cant find and brings a lost world beautifully, magically, once again into our present.
A new collected volume from the Nobel Prize–winning poet that includes, for the first time in English, all of the poems from her last Polish collection
One of Europe’s greatest recent poets is also its wisest, wittiest, and most accessible. Nobel Prize–winner Wislawa Szymborska draws us in with her unexpected, unassuming humor. Her elegant, precise poems pose questions we never thought to ask. “If you want the world in a nutshell,” a Polish critic remarks, “try Szymborska.” But the world held in these lapidary poems is larger than the one we thought we knew.
Carefully edited by her longtime, award-winning translator, Clare Cavanagh, the poems in Map trace Szymborska’s work until her death in 2012. Of the approximately two hundred and fifty poems included here, nearly forty are newly translated; thirteen represent the entirety of the poet’s last Polish collection, Enough, never before published in English.
Map is the first English publication of Szymborska’s work since the acclaimed Here, and it offers her devoted readers a welcome return to her “ironic elegance” (The New Yorker).
About the Author
W.S. Merwin is the author of over fifty books of poetry, prose, and translations. He has earned every major literary prize, most recently the National Book Award for Migration: New and Selected Poems. He lives in Hawaii where he raised endangered palm trees.
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