Synopses & Reviews
When Harriet Monroe founded Poetry
magazine in Chicago in 1912, she began with an image: the Open Door. “May the great poet we are looking for never find it shut, or half-shut, against his ample genius!” For a century, the most important and enduring poets have walked through that door—William Carlos Williams and Wallace Stevens in its first years, Rae Armantrout and Kay Ryan in 2011. And at the same time, Poetry
continues to discover the new voices who will be read a century from now.
Poetry’s archives are incomparable, and to celebrate the magazine’s centennial, editors Don Share and Christian Wiman combed them to create a new kind of anthology, energized by the self-imposed limitation to one hundred poems. Rather than attempting to be exhaustive or definitive—or even to offer the most familiar works—they have assembled a collection of poems that, in their juxtaposition, echo across a century of poetry. Adrienne Rich appears alongside Charles Bukowski; poems by Isaac Rosenberg and Randall Jarrell on the two world wars flank a devastating Vietnam War poem by the lesser-known George Starbuck; August Kleinzahler’s “The Hereafter” precedes “Prufrock,” casting Eliot’s masterpiece in a new light. Short extracts from Poetry’s letters and criticism punctuate the verse selections, hinting at themes and threads and serving as guides, interlocutors, or dissenting voices.
The resulting volume is an anthology like no other, a celebration of idiosyncrasy and invention, a vital monument to an institution that refuses to be static, and, most of all, a book that lovers of poetry will devour, debate, and keep close at hand.
"A collection that sings with the beauty of life and at the same time acknowledges its fragility: 'To believe is to believe you have been torn/ from the abyss, yet stand waveringly on its rim.'" Library Journal
"Wiman...brings fire and gravity to poems forged in a battle....Exquisitely aware that every thing on earth, no matter how hard used, channels the mysterious force that makes atoms dance and hearts beat, Wiman, in the spirit of Hopkins, infuses molten life into every word." Booklist
"Christian Wiman (currently, the editor of Poetry magazine) writes poems that are a study in torque, full of twisting force, words and lines pushing and pulling each other into forms of astonishing solidity and grace. His third collection, Every Riven Thing, is a beautiful and wrenching dialogue with death, decay, and the divine and is one of the best books of poems published last year." Jill Owens, Powells.com (Read the entire Powells.com review)
A vibrant new collection from one of America's most talented young poets.
Every Riven Thing is Christian Wiman's first collection in seven years, and rarely has a book of poetry so borne the stamp of necessity. Whether in stark, haiku-like descriptions of a cancer ward, surrealistic depictions of a social order coming apart, or fluent, defiant outpourings of praise, Wiman pushes his language and forms until they break open, revealing startling new truths within. The poems are joyful and sorrowful at the same time, abrasive and beautiful, densely physical and credibly mystical. They attest to the human hunger to feel existence, even at its most harrowing, and the power of art to make our most intense experiences not only apprehensible but transfiguring.
A vibrant new collection from one of America's most talented young poets
Every Riven Thing is Christian Wimans first collection in seven years, and rarely has a book of poetry so borne the stamp of necessity. Whether in stark, haiku-like descriptions of a cancer ward, surrealistic depictions of a social order coming apart, or fluent, defiant outpourings of praise, Wiman pushes his language and forms until they break open, revealing startling new truths within. The poems are joyful and sorrowful at the same time, abrasive and beautiful, densely physical and credibly mystical. They attest to the human hunger to feel existence, even at its most harrowing, and the power of art to make our most intense experiences not only apprehensible but transfiguring.
About the Author
Christian Wiman, born and raised in West Texas. He is the editor of Poetry and the author of two previous collections of poems, Hard Night (2005) and The Long Home (2007), and one collection of prose. He lives in Chicago.
Table of Contents
Mastery and Mystery: Twenty-One Ways to Read a Century
Ezra Pound In a Station of the MetroKay Ryan Sharks TeethMarie Ponsot Anti-Romantic Roddy Lumsden The YoungLeRoi Jones Valéry as DictatorEdwin Arlington Robinson Eros TurannosAnge Mlinko It Was a Bichon Frisés Life . . .Muriel Rukeyser SongAugust Kleinzahler The HereafterT. S. Eliot The Love Song of J. Alfred PrufrockLaura Kasischke LookWeldon Kees From “Eight Variations”Robert Creeley For LoveMary Karr DisgracelandLucille Clifton sorrowsA. E. Stallings On Visiting a Borrowed Country House in ArcadiaCharles Wright Bedtime StoryDelmore Schwartz In the Naked Bed, In Platos CaveWilliam Matthews Mingus at the ShowplaceDonald Justice Men at FortyRuth Stone ForecastCraig Arnold Meditation on a GrapefruitJosephine Miles The Hampton Institute AlbumP. K. Page My Chosen LandscapeTheodore Roethke Florists Root CellarWallace Stevens Tea at the Palaz of HoonBasil Bunting From BriggflattsLouise Bogan NightRodney Jack After the DiagnosisMargaret Atwood Pig SongMichael S. Harper Blues AlabamaIsaac Rosenberg Break of Day in the TrenchesGeorge Starbuck Of LateRandall Jarrell ProtocolsTom Disch The Prisoners of WarSeamus Heaney A Dog Was Crying To-Night in Wicklow AlsoHart Crane At Melvilles TombRobert Hayden O Daedalus, Fly Away HomeCharles Bukowski A Not So Good Night in the San Pedro of the WorldAdrienne Rich Final NotationsW. H. Auden The Shield of AchillesAlbert Goldbarth He HasAlice Fulton What I LikeEdna St. Vincent Millay RendezvousSylvia Plath Fever 103Lisel Mueller In the Thriving SeasonEleanor Wilner MagnificatAtsuro Riley HutchThomas Sayers Ellis Or,Marianne Moore No Swan So FineJohn Berryman The TravelerAverill Curdy Sparrow Trapped in the AirportH. D. His PresenceRae Armantrout TransactionsGwendolyn Brooks The Children of the PoorE. E. Cummings What If a Much of a Which of a WindFrederick Seidel Mu‘allaqaGeoffrey Hill The Peacock of AldertonMay Swenson Green Red Brown and WhiteAnne Stevenson Inheriting My Grandmothers NightmareJeanne Murray Walker Little Blessing for My FloaterBrooklyn Copeland Prayers EndJack Spicer “Any fool can get into an ocean . . . ”Alan Dugan Fabrication of AncestorsEdward Dorn Dark CeilingW. S. Merwin Search PartyLorine Niedecker Three PoemsDenise Levertov Our BodiesJames Wright The BlessingRobinson Jeffers Grass on the CliffW. S. Di Piero Big City SpeechCid Corman From “Cahoots”Richard Wilbur Hamlen BrookRita Dove Old Folks Home, JerusalemDon Paterson The LieMaxine Kumin NurtureWilliam Carlos Williams Paterson, Book V: The River of HeavenTed Hughes HeatwaveFrank OHara Chez JaneReginald Dwayne Betts “For you: anthophilous, lover of flowers”Rachel Wetzsteon On Leaving the Bachelorette BrunchAdrian Blevins How to Cook a WolfA. R. Ammons Gravelly RunSamuel Menashe HereRobert Duncan Returning to Roots of First FeelingLangston Hughes Blues in StereoJames Schuyler Korean MumsJacob Saenz Sweeping the StatesGeorge Oppen Birthplace: New RochelleGary Snyder Song of the TangleBelle Randall A Childs Garden of GodsIsabella Gardner The Widows YardThom Gunn Lines for a BookFrank Bidart From “The Third Hour of the Night”William Meredith The IlliterateRhina P. Espaillat ChangelingMaria Hummel StationJames Merrill The Mad SceneW. S. Graham The Beast in the SpaceWilliam Butler Yeats The Fisherman