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The Apple Trees at Olema includes work from Robert Hass's first five books-Field Guide, Praise, Human Wishes, Sun Under Wood, and Time and Materials-as well as a substantial gathering of new poems, including a suite of elegies, a series of poems in the form of notebook musings on the nature of storytelling, a suite of summer lyrics, and two experiments in pure narrative that meditate on personal relations in a violent world and read like small, luminous novellas. From the beginning, his poems have seemed entirely his own: a complex hybrid of the lyric line, with an unwavering fidelity to human and nonhuman nature, and formal variety and surprise, and a syntax capable of thinking through difficult things in ways that are both perfectly ordinary and really unusual. Over the years, he has added to these qualities a range and a formal restlessness that seem to come from a skeptical turn of mind, an acute sense of the artifice of the poem and of the complexity of the world of lived experience that a poem tries to apprehend. Hass's work is grounded in the beauty of the physical world. His familiar landscapes-San Francisco, the northern California coast, the Sierra high country-are vividly alive in his work. His themes include art, the natural world, desire, family life, the life between lovers, the violence of history, and the power and inherent limitations of language. He is a poet who is trying to say, as fully as he can, what it is like to be alive in his place and time. His style-formed in part by American modernism, in part by his long apprenticeship as a translator of the Japanese haiku masters and Czeslaw Milosz-combines intimacy of address, a quick intelligence, a virtuosic skill with long sentences, intense sensual vividness, and a light touch. It has made him immensely readable and his work widely admired.
The California-based River of Words (ROW) has gained fame as an important nonprofit that trains teachers, park naturalists, grassroots groups, and others to incorporate observation-based nature exploration and the arts into young people's lives. One of the group's most important annual projects is to take the youth pulse from the United States and 22 other countries, by asking for writing on water and nature. This anthology collects the best of that writing, with accompanying artwork. Divided into nine geographical areas (California, Pacific Northwest, Inland West, Midwest, Southwest, Northwest, Mid Atlantic, South, and International), the book presents writers from ages six to 18. In poems such as "I Love My Dog," "Seasons in Our Watershed," "History of a Cornfield," and "Swamp Shack,"River of Words exhibits diverse voices, as well as some bilingual poems. A remarkable confluence of K-12 curriculum, children's literature, environmentalism, and poetry, this thoughtful book, in the words of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gary Snyder, gives us "pleasure and hope. "
"This miracle of a book, perhaps the most beautiful group of poetic translations this century has ever produced," (Chicago Tribune) should stand as the definitive English language version.From the Trade Paperback edition.
The poems in Robert Hass's new collection-his first to appear in a decade-are grounded in the beauty and energy of the physical world, and in the bafflement of the present moment in American culture. This work is breathtakingly immediate, stylistically varied, redemptive, and wise. His familiar landscapes are here-San Francisco, the Northern California coast, the Sierra high country-in addition to some of his oft-explored themes: art; the natural world; the nature of desire; the violence of history; the power and limits of language; and, as in his other books, domestic life and the conversation between men and women. New themes emerge as well, perhaps: the essence of memory and of time. The works here look at paintings, at Gerhard Richter as well as Vermeer, and pay tribute to his particular literary masters, friend Czeslaw Milosz, the great Swedish poet Tomas TranstrÖmer, Horace, Whitman, Stevens, Nietszche, and Lucretius. We are offered glimpses of a surprisingly green and vibrant twenty-first-century Berlin; of the demilitarized zone between the Koreas; of a Bangkok night, a Mexican desert, and an early summer morning in Paris, all brought into a vivid present and with a passionate meditation on what it is and has been to be alive. "It has always been Mr. Hass's aim," the New York Times Book Review wrote, "to get the whole man, head and heart and hands and everything else, into his poetry." Every new volume by Robert Hass is a major event in poetry, and this beautiful collection is no exception.
The poems in Hass's new collection--his first to appear in a decade--are grounded in the beauty and energy of the physical world, and in the bafflement of the present moment in American culture. Winner of the 2007 National Book Award for Poetry, and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Milosz writes poems about the inadequacy and despondency of modern life interjected with hope for the future.
Universally lauded poet Robert Hass offers a stunning, wide-ranging collection of essays on art, imagination, and the natural world--with accompanying photos throughout. What Light Can Do is a magnificent companion piece to the former U.S. Poet Laureate's Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning poetry collection, Time and Materials, as well as his earlier book of essays, the NBCC Award-winner Twentieth Century Pleasures. Haas brilliantly discourses on many of his favorite topics--on writers ranging from Jack London to Wallace Stevens to Allen Ginsberg to Cormac McCarthy; on California; and on the art of photography in several memorable pieces--in What Light Can Do, a remarkable literary treasure that might best be described as "luminous."
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