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1 Beaverton Poetry- A to Z

Endpoint and Other Poems

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Endpoint and Other Poems Cover

ISBN13: 9780307272867
ISBN10: 0307272869
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A stunning collection of poems that John Updike wrote during the last seven years of his life and put together only weeks before he died for this, his final book.

The opening sequence, “Endpoint,” is made up of a series of connected poems written on the occasions of his recent birthdays and culminates in his confrontation with his final illness. He looks back on the boy that he was, on the family, the small town, the people, and the circumstances that fed his love of writing, and he finds endless delight and solace in “turning the oddities of life into words.”

“Other Poems” range from the fanciful (what would it be like to be a stolen Rembrandt painting? he muses) to the celebratory, capturing the flux of life. A section of sonnets follows, some inspired by travels to distant lands, others celebrating the idiosyncrasies of nature in his own backyard.

For John Updike, the writing of poetry was always a special joy, and this final collection is an eloquent and moving testament to the life of this extraordinary writer.

Review:

"Many delights but very few surprises await Updike's admirers in this last book of poems from the prolific essayist and novelist, completed only weeks before his death. Much of it gathers calm, casual, loosely rhymed sonnets, first in autobiographical sequences, describing the first and the last years of the poet's life: 'Age I must, but die I would rather not... Be with me, words, a little longer.' These sequences sketch Arizona and New England; single sonnets, placed later in the collection, offer impressions of Russia, India, the Irish seashore ('like loads of eternal laundry,/ onrolling breaks cresting into foam') and of nearer phenomena, such as the noise made by men fixing Updike's house. Quiet poems pay tribute to golf and golfers, to Eros in old age and to 'America, where beneath/ the good cheer and sly jazz the chance/ of failure is everybody's right,/ beginning with baseball.' Elegant samples of Updike's celebrated light verse are also in evidence. Mostly, though, these are serious, quiet, low-pressure, frequently elegiac poems, concerned with later life — 'old doo-wop stars,' for example, 'gray hairdos still conked,/ their up-from-the-choir baby faces lined/ with wrinkles now.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

John Updike's prose could sometimes seem so coldly beautiful, so self-aware, that critics occasionally questioned its effectiveness in fiction. Such verbal dandyism, it was thought, actually short-circuited the reading experience: Updike's striking similes and metaphors sucked attention away from the characters and plots. One admired the sentences instead of losing oneself in the story.

... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. He was the father of four children and the author of more than sixty books, including novels and collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His books won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Howells Medal, among other honors. He died in January 2009.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Lindsay Waite, August 30, 2012 (view all comments by Lindsay Waite)
This is a poignant collection of poems of John Updike written towards the end of his life (over his final seven years). It is a reflective book, one in which Updike waxes poetic about his childhood, family, travels, and the end of his life. The opening lengthy poem, "Endpoint," is broken into sections. It begins in March 2002 and ends in December 2008, just a month before he died. In "The Author Observes His Birthday, 2005," he reflects:

"A life poured into words - apparent waste
intended to preserve the thing consumed.
For who, in that unthinkable future
when I am dead, will read?...." (p. 8)

Many writers, I believe, can relate to this beautifully expressed reflection on the impermanence of life and the value (or lack thereof) of the written word.

After "Endpoint," Updike has other categories: "Other Poems," "Sonnets," and "Light and Personal." My favorite is "Saguaros" in "Other Poems" and its ending line: "Mute mobs of them throng the desert dusk." (p.62)

This is a book of poetry that I occasionally pick up and thumb through as I look for a thought that seems apt for the day. I read "Colonoscopy"(p.48)(part of "Endpoint") on, yes, the day before I had one. Who else would write a poem about this process? "Madurai, India" (p.69) takes us into that city for the moment and was read as I imagined I would travel there one day. Reading "Thunderstorm in Dorset, Vermont"(p.82) places us right in the middle of that storm and beautifully captures the force of nature. In the drought of the desert, it is nice to imagine such a storm.
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RICHARD_REINECCIUS, January 18, 2011 (view all comments by RICHARD_REINECCIUS)
Such a wonderful collection of reflections on the final part of life's journey. Reading it is like the feeling and images I remember of rolling down the final slope home to San Francisco Bay after crossing the country, SF-Minnesota-New York, in both directions in my old Chevy, after stops to visit relatives and every National Park or Monument within detour distance in the North Tier and Central Band of states.
I hand-copied some of the verses to keep, before returning the book to the Public Library after I maxed the possible renewals. Now I need to buy the book.
Richard Reineccius, SF/Oakland, CA
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307272867
Author:
Updike, John
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
112
Dimensions:
8.28x5.48x.64 in. .54 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Endpoint and Other Poems Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 112 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307272867 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Many delights but very few surprises await Updike's admirers in this last book of poems from the prolific essayist and novelist, completed only weeks before his death. Much of it gathers calm, casual, loosely rhymed sonnets, first in autobiographical sequences, describing the first and the last years of the poet's life: 'Age I must, but die I would rather not... Be with me, words, a little longer.' These sequences sketch Arizona and New England; single sonnets, placed later in the collection, offer impressions of Russia, India, the Irish seashore ('like loads of eternal laundry,/ onrolling breaks cresting into foam') and of nearer phenomena, such as the noise made by men fixing Updike's house. Quiet poems pay tribute to golf and golfers, to Eros in old age and to 'America, where beneath/ the good cheer and sly jazz the chance/ of failure is everybody's right,/ beginning with baseball.' Elegant samples of Updike's celebrated light verse are also in evidence. Mostly, though, these are serious, quiet, low-pressure, frequently elegiac poems, concerned with later life — 'old doo-wop stars,' for example, 'gray hairdos still conked,/ their up-from-the-choir baby faces lined/ with wrinkles now.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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