The Figured Wheel fully collects the first four books of poetry, as well as twenty-one new poems, by Robert Pinsky, the former U.S. Poet Laureate. Critic Hugh Kenner, writing about Pinsky's first volume, described this poet's work as nothing less than the recovery for language of a whole domain of mute and familiar experience. Both the ...
The Figured Wheel fully collects the first four books of poetry, as well as twenty-one new poems, by Robert Pinsky, the former U.S. Poet Laureate. Critic Hugh Kenner, writing about Pinsky's first volume, described this poet's work as nothing less than the recovery for language of a whole domain of mute and familiar experience. Both the transformation of the familiar and the uttering of what has been hitherto mute or implicit in our culture continue to be central to Pinsky's art. New poems like Avenue and The City Elegies envision the urban landscape's mysterious epitome of human pain and imagination, forces that recur in Ginza Samba, an astonishing history of the saxophone, and Impossible to Tell, a jazz-like work that intertwines elegy with both the Japanese custom of linking-poems and the American tradition of ethnic jokes. A final section of translations includes Pinsky's renderings of poems by Czeslaw Milosz, Paul Celan, and others, as well as the last canto of his award-winning version of the Inferno.
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Publishers Weekly, 1996-03-18 To say that Pinsky's verse is thunderous is not to imply that it is loud and unbridled. Rather, like the true nature of thunder, each poem begins with a bolt to make its presence known (as with titles like "The Want Bone" and "Doctor Frolic" or such first lines as "Afternoon light like pollen"), rumbles on to strike primitive chords of religion and mythology in the reader's mind and winds down to a charged silence hanging on the coattails of a simple image. Brought together here are 16 new poems, the work of his four original collections and a sampling of his fine translations, including a canto from his well-received version of the Inferno. Taken as a whole, this is the record of a poet who grows from highly competent to near-transcendent, becomes more serious in tone while more complex in meter and enlivens everything from a baseball game to observations of his young daughter to an essay, in verse, on psychiatrists with a language that would be equally at home on vellum. (Apr.)
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