Above the River: The Complete Poems

James Wright Donald Hall

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Above the River: The Complete Poems

Above the River The Complete Poems One of the most admired American poets of his generation James Wright wrote contemplative sturdy and generous poems with an honesty clarity and stylistic range matched by very few then or

  • Title: Above the River: The Complete Poems
  • Author: James Wright Donald Hall
  • ISBN: 9780374522827
  • Page: 386
  • Format: Paperback
  • One of the most admired American poets of his generation, James Wright 1927 80 wrote contemplative, sturdy, and generous poems with an honesty, clarity, and stylistic range matched by very few then or now From his Deep Image inspired lyrics to his Whtimanesque renderings of Neruda, Vallejo, and other Latin American poets, and from his heartfelt reflections on life, lovOne of the most admired American poets of his generation, James Wright 1927 80 wrote contemplative, sturdy, and generous poems with an honesty, clarity, and stylistic range matched by very few then or now From his Deep Image inspired lyrics to his Whtimanesque renderings of Neruda, Vallejo, and other Latin American poets, and from his heartfelt reflections on life, love, and loss in his native Ohio to the celebrated prose poems set frequently in Italy that marked the end of his important career, Above the River gathers the complete work of a modern master It also features a moving and insightful introduction by Donald Hall, Wright s longtime friend and colleague.

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    One thought on “Above the River: The Complete Poems

    1. William1 on said:

      Read Shall We Gather at the River, an outstanding work of black brooding and mortal obsession. Considered by many--Robert Bly among them--to be a seminal work of twentieth-century American poetry. It's one of six or seven volumes collected here from Wright's too-brief career. Oh the voice lovelier wasThan a crow's dreaming face,His secret face, that smilesAlive in a dead place. Oh I was lonely, lonely:What were the not to me?The not were nothing then.Now let the not becomeNothing, and so remain, [...]

    2. Kris on said:

      True greatness. Wright was not unlike Picasso, a master (in poetry, as opposed to painting) whose true genius became evident only when he freed himself from the constraints of form and broke new emotional and linguistic ground in free verse. This is a book to treasure and re-visit again and again.

    3. Jeff on said:

      James Wright and Richard Hugo are my favorite poets, so you read poems by them, and then we can start a gang

    4. Scott Reeves on said:

      When he gets it right, as he often does, James Wright is among the finest of American poets. Hugely intelligent, lyrical, and unsentimentally touching his best poems are among the very best of the 20th Century. This book presents the work of his lifetime and as such includes his lesser work. Even so, it ranks among my six or seven favorite volumes of poetry. Wright is a hugely underrated Midwestern genius. Time spent reading him is time well spent indeed.

    5. Sunni on said:

      James Wright is a perfect poet for lush descriptions, celebration of the socially forgotten, and killer ending lines. In the forward, Donald Hall says that Wright's poems are weaker when they try to be pretty but masterful when they are beautiful. I would have to agree. This collection has many of both, but overall it reflects a man who lived close to the vein and was honest, witty, and real in his work and in his life.

    6. Jenny on said:

      One of the best poems --A Winter Day in Ohio PWT died in late Spring, 1957Clever, defensive, seasoned animalsPlato and Christ deny your grave. But man,Who slept for years alone, will turn his faceAlone to the common wall before his time.Between the woodchuck and the cross, aloneAll afternoon, I take my time to mourn.I am too old to cry against the snowOf roots and stars, drifting above your face.

    7. Meredith on said:

      much of james wright's work alternates between elation at the beauty of the natural world and depression resulting from the ugliness of the human world. i can relate all too much to this bipolar cycling, but i read his work not so much for the full cycle but for the elation, for the beauty, for his identification with the small things, and for the feeling of breaking open with the blossoming of the world.

    8. Kent on said:

      If only all the poems could have been in Ohio. Lord, when the man makes even the slightest allusion to his home, the poem is immediately grounded. And textured. Otherwise, well, watching the colorized version of Ted Turner classics I get the idea what the movie is about, and what it must mean. But I just can't quite settle into everything.

    9. Auntjenny on said:

      How can you not love Wright's poetry? He gives us everything a poem should be-- he says what most of us cannot express in words-- and he's hopeful.

    10. Laura on said:

      Two Postures beside a Fire1Tonight I watch my father’s hair,As he sits dreaming near his stove.Knowing my feather of despair,He sent me an owl’s plume for love,Lest I not know, so I’ve come home.Tonight Ohio, where I onceHounded and cursed my loneliness,Shows me my father, who broke stones,Wrestled and mastered great machines,And rests, shadowing his lovely face.2Nobly his hands fold together in repose.He is proud of me, believingI have done strong things among men and become a manOf place [...]

    11. Sheila Dane on said:

      Wonderful book. Lyrical, gritty, moving. Wright's poetry is deeply personal, yet universal, a sort of every man's struggle to find himself. We follow him from his Ohio blue collar roots all the way to Italy where he for the first time, finds a sort of peace (having much to do with his marriage to Anne Wright) that had eluded him for the greater part of his life. This collection was put together by his wife, Anne Wright and contains a thoughtful foreword by Donald Hall. It also includes prose wri [...]

    12. Jessie on said:

      Sipped from this book--breathtaking in parts though sometimes the formal feel tends toward the sentimental; JW seems to write with tears always welling up (maybe that's my attraction!):from "Spring Images":Two athletesAre dancing in the cathedralOf the wind.A butterfly lights on the branchOf your green voice.Small antelopesFall asleep in the ashes Of the moon.

    13. Bradley Harrison on said:

      "Two haunches of whales / Slope into whitecap doves, / It is hard to drown here. // Between two walls, / A fold of echoes, / A girl's voice walks naked. // I step into the water / Of two flakes. / The crowns of white birds rise / To my ankles, / To my knees, / To my face."an excerpt from, "Snowstorm in the Midwest"

    14. Gerry LaFemina on said:

      The fact is, like all complete poems, there are some bad poems in this collection--but our ability to see the body of work of this American master is worthwhile. We can see him develop as a poet, and watch him hone his skills to mastery.

    15. Allen on said:

      One of my favorite poets. This is a good volume if you want everything Wright every published, but if you don't then you may want to stick to "selected poems" or start with "The Branch Will Not Break".

    16. S. on said:

      This is beautiful poetry but Farrar, Strauss and Giroux went real low-budgie on the book. Some smarter publisher should put together a better printing, better paper, clearer font, etc. What a bummer.

    17. Aaron O'Donovan on said:

      James Wright can punch you in the stomach with his wonderful (albeit depressing) descriptions of life (especially life in Ohio). The guy was almost too good.

    18. Ben on said:

      The James Wright Poetry Festival in Martin's Ferry, Ohio is where I first fell in love with my wife.His voice winds those hills like the river.

    19. Emma Molls on said:

      Great collection of Wright. This collection (a mix of poems from earlier published Wright) was great. A good reader for a first time Wright reader or an old lover.

    20. Cameron Scott on said:

      It's just James Wright all of his poems. They are generous, a human spirit always breaking but never broken.

    21. Kim Lohse on said:

      I keep coming back to this and it is richer every time. Boldly I say, I think Wright may be the greatest poet of the 20th century.

    22. Elise on said:

      I never finished this volume but there are some AMAZING poems in here that I already love I intend to!

    23. Giselle on said:

      Fantastic. So many great poems! Here's one of my many favoritesIn Response to a Rumor That the Oldest Whorehouse in Wheeling, West Virginia Has Been CondemnedI will grieve alone, As I strolled alone, years ago, down along The Ohio shore. I hid in the hobo jungle weeds Upstream from the sewer main, Pondering, gazing. I saw, down river, At Twenty-third and Water Streets By the vinegar works, The doors open in early evening. Swinging their purses, the women Poured down the long street to the river [...]

    24. Sue D. on said:

      "The Blessing" is one of my all-time favorite poems. All of Wright's works are collected in this one volume.

    25. Jeremy Heartberg on said:

      What we take from books reveals something about ourselves. If I take this as true, what did I learn from "Above the River"? Maybe I'm just spoiled. Like most collected poems, "Above the River" reveals the complete James Wright. If you want to trace the roots that lead to the crescendo of 'The Branch Will Not Break' and 'Shall We Gather at the River", this book is for you. If you want to read a bunch of good poems that lead up to those two masterworks, you may be disappointed.The collection is or [...]

    26. Brian Wasserman on said:

      Ive read some good poems by him, however most of these depend mostly on allusions, and are not as original.

    27. Roy on said:

      This is some of the great poetry of the mid-20th century. Wright was a consummate craftsman, to be sure. But, too, he was a channel (along with Robert Bly) for the critical import of Spanish poetry that had been ringing a big loud bell internationally for years--Neruda, Hernandez, Jimenez, Guillen, Cesar Vallejo A job well done. Many years and translations later, a grateful community of poetry lovers salutes this man James A. Wright, great poet in every way a poet can be great.The noted poet, po [...]

    28. Karen on said:

      James Wright is one of my favorite poets. His poems are both spare and haunting. He is a master at conveying worlds of feeling in a few lines as in his poems "The Jewel" and "A Blessing". His work is accessible and allows for a real communication with the reader.

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