Open Books: The Goods - Archive
If you see something you'd like, click place an order.
New Books - 04/04
Buffalo Yoga by Charles Wright ( $20 FSG)
This book glows beautifully,
more as ember than flame. With gorgeous, evocative imagery, often rising
out of the rural landscape, Wright ponders our passage. "The world is a
magic book," he writes, "and we its sentences. / We read it and read
ourselves." The title sequence is particularly moving, functioning both as
elegy and philosophical meditation. "All my life I've listened for the dark
speech of silence, / And now, every night, / I hear a slight murmur, a slow
rush, / My blood setting out on its long journey beyond the skin."
Allen Ginsberg and Frank O'Hara are the latest additions to The Voice of
the Poet series ($19.95 Random House).
Each package contains a CD of the
poet reading as well as a book with the text of the poems and an essay by J.
D. McClatchy, the series editor. Recorded live in 1995, Ginsberg's reading
is vigorous and ranges over nearly 40 years of work. His rendition of "Howl"
is particularly strong. O'Hara was recorded much less frequently (he was
not as comfortable reading his work), and McClatchy must have done some
sleuthing to gather several of these pieces, a few of which were privately
recorded. As might be expected, the sound quality varies, but it still gives
a thrill to hear those much loved poems in their author's voice.
Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Edward Snow ($22
North Point Press)
Snow continues his impressive translations of Rilke's
work with this bilingual edition. His introductory essay is helpful and
fascinating. Here is the beginning of Sonnet 21, the First Part: "Spring
has come again. The earth / is like a child who knows poems by heart; /
many, so many!..For the work / of such long learning, she wins the prize."
The Orchard by Brigit Pegeen Kelly ($14.95 BOA)
published nearly 10 years after the much praised Song, is both lovely and
discomfiting. These poems are dark as fairly tales, and like them filled
with haunting animals, difficult woods, and mysterious ponds, with hunger
and death, with transformation and the desire for it. If there is comfort,
it comes out of a kind of fearless witnessing, the struggle to honor: "It is
good to say first // An invocation. Though the words do not always seem to
work. Still, one must try.. // Say: Blessed is the day. And the one // who
destroys the day. Blessed is this ring of fire / In which we live.."
Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver ($22 Beacon)
"There are things you can'
t reach. But / you can reach out to them, and all day long." With these 47
new poems, all written over the last two years, Oliver continues to offer
her songs of praise for the natural world. Accompanying this volume is
_Long Life: Essays and Other Writings_ ($22 Da Capo), a new collection of
prose pieces, prose poems, and poems. Included are more of her aphoristic
"Sand Dabs" -- "You too can be carved anew by the details of your
He Paves the Road with Iron Bars by Caroline Knox ($12 Verse Press)
Time for another visit to the Land of Knox, an unusual world where, though
you might recognize the vocabulary, and the constabulary, and the books in
the library, all has been tossed and recombined and sorted a new way. Her
"Prothalamium" starts, "Here is the cairn of gifts: in tailored silver paper
/ with hospital corners;" and travels to, "Here is the gift of cairns: a
pair of expensive, inquisitive terriers / ready to adore you-are you ready
for them?" Indeed!
|-- * --