Combining both early and later poems, Kunitz presents readers with the gift of his life's work in poetry. In the year of his 95th birthday, "The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz" celebrates the distinguished career of one of the most esteemed poets of the day.Combining both early and later poems, Kunitz presents readers with the gift of his life's work in poetry. In the year of his 95th birthday, "The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz" celebrates the distinguished career of one of the most esteemed poets of the day.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-07-31 Widely, deeply and deservedly admired, Kunitz celebrates his 95th birthday with his first comprehensive collection in decades. Kunitz's oeuvre divides neatly in half. The first half, written before the 1960s, consists of elaborately stylized, neo-Metaphysical odes and lyrics, variously evocative of Blake, Yeats, Hart Crane and Allen Tate: "Engaged in exquisite analysis/ Of passionate destruction, lovers kiss;// In furious involvement they would make/ A double meaning single." Long out of print, these earlier poems won Kunitz a Pulitzer for his 1958 Selected. His current reputation rests justly on his very different, clearer, more obviously personal late poems?contemporary monuments of visionary clarity and understated wisdom, cast in long sentences and in short free-verse lines. These entirely convincing works?many of which are found in 1995's National Book Award-winning, Passing Through, a new-and-selected?reflect on justice, politics and the Vietnam War; on parenthood, divorce and happy remarriage; and (as one might expect) on advancing age. They also bring Kunitz face to face with a cast of remarkable ghosts?among them Dante; Roman gladiators; prehistoric Americans' "earth-faced chorus of the lost"; Abe Lincoln; Jewish mystics; "the larva of the tortoise beetle"; a bevy of outsider artists; and the poet's father, who died when Kunitz was young. One lyric revisits the poet's childhood dream: "Bolt upright in my bed that night/ I saw my father flying;/ the wind was walking on my neck/ the windowpanes were crying." Other poems examine inland Massachusetts (where Kunitz grew up) and Cape Cod (where he lives); several translate the Russian modernists Mandelstam and Akhmatova. Concise and deeply affecting, the later Kunitz is easy to love, but hard to describe, since his craft consists so much in hard thought and hard-won simplicity. His works of the last few decades are permanent things; readers without Passing Through should pick up this more permanent collection. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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