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Summary: The definitive anthology of Reynolds Price's accomplishments in poetry over four decades, The Collected Poems opens with a preface that discusses his beginnings, guides, and methods; it then includes his first three collections in their entirety -- Vital Provisions, The Laws of Ice, and The Use of Fire -- and adds a new volume, The Unaccountable Worth of the World, eighty-five more recent poems that offer striking departures as they continue to embody Price's close attention to the e ...show morexterior and the interior worlds of a lengthening and unexpectedly complex life. The Collected Poems reveals, throughout, the accumulated variety of Reynolds Price's years as a poet -- the thematic breadth, formal steadiness, narrative vitality, and intense lyricism that have marked his work from the start. It is a landmark in a creative life that now includes more than thirty books -- poems, novels, plays, essays, translations -- and in the span of contemporary American verse. ...show lessEdition/Copyright: 97
PREFACE I was twelve years old when I began to encounter poems more demanding than the jingles of childhood or the nonsense lyrics of popular songs. Those first serious poems were introduced to me and my colleagues in a seventh-grade public-school classroom by Jane Alston, our teacher. She was an imposingly tall, middle-aged and never-married woman of dauntless gravity and rare but keen delight; and she was generous with praise when surprised by a sign of thoughtful imagination from her students. A superb sergeant for our maneuvers through arithmetic, reading, geography and natural science, she possessed as well a simple method which I've never met with elsewhere for building poetry into young human bones.From a slender volume called Best Loved Poems, she'd read us a favorite of her own -- brief lyrics from poets of genius like Wordsworth, Keats and Tennyson and from lesser but often rousing lights like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Longfellow, Whittier, Eugene Field and John McCrae. Then she'd write the day's poem on the blackboard for us to copy into our notebooks (the copying became, simultaneously, an exercise in the now lost art of legible penmanship). Every few days Miss Alston would lead the class in reading, aloud in unison, all the poems we'd copied. Occasionally she'd have us copy the words of a well-known song, and we'd add a cappella musical renditions to our repertoire -- the song that's haunted me longest is the Scottish ''Annie Laurie'' (a majority of my classmates had Scottish roots, as I do). The vigor and swing of those performances suggested that far more members of the class than I had discovered a welcome new form of play. And given our widespread enthusiasm and the porous eagerness of young minds, we likewise found that in a matter of only a few such performances, all the poems were locked into place in our heads.In my case, most of them wait there still; and on numerous occasions of boredom, fear or foundering spirits, I've brought them forward for silent assistance. Mostly when I call them to mind, I feel again the rise of my boyhood zeal, a pleasure which can suddenly flow from the presence of that benign conjunction of word, image and rhythm which poetry offers more liberally than other forms even in lines of a minor distinction like those I first learned in 1945 (from John McCrae's ''In Flanders Fields'') -- Take up our quarrel with the foe;To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields. Some three years after that introduction, I made my first independent contact with a poet who -- though she'd been dead for sixty-two years -- would lure me to study all the available work of a particular lifetime. That contact was made not only in independence but in solitude and apparent coincidence. It was in 1948; my family had recently moved from a town with no bookstore to Raleigh, and the capital city boasted two stores which offered a secular stock. Though they maintained a pitifully small range of new titles, each offered a shelf of inexpensive Modern Library editions.Early on I'd acquired two schoolboy favorites, The Prophecies of Nostradamus and W. H. Hudson's Green Mansions; but one gray Saturday afternoon when I was fifteen, I chanced on The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson. I doubt I'd heard Dickinson's name till then; and I was unaware that her nearly two thousand poems had still not appeared in a chronologically arranged and textually faithful edition. But on that lucky afternoon, as the small selected volume fell open, I read to myself Success is counted sweetestBy those who ne'er succeed.To comprehend a nectarRequires sorest need.Not one of all the purple HostWho took the Flag todayCan tell the definitionSo clear of Victory
Mary Oliver[Price] is as erotic as Auden, as life-loving as Keats, as religious as Hopkins....The reader senses that here is the true country of poetry -- not merely poignant, but ecstatic, unbearable, and revelatory.
Preface I. VITAL PROVISIONS (1982) ANGEL ONE THE DREAM OF A HOUSE THE DREAM OF LEE THE DREAM OF FOOD SEAFARER QUESTIONS FOR A STUDENT THE ALCHEMIST AT THE GULF LEAVING THE ISLAND ANNIVERSARY ATTIS BETHLEHEM -- CAVE OF THE NATIVITY JERUSALEM -- CALVARY PURE BOYS AND GIRLS NIGHT SPEECH TEN YEARS, FOUR DAYS RESCUE TWO: NINE MYSTERIES ANNUNCIATION REPARATION CHRIST CHILD''S SONG AT THE END OF THE NIGHT DEAD GIRL NAKED BOY SLEEPING WIFE RESURRECTION INSTRUCTION ASCENSION THREE PICTURES OF THE DEAD 1. ROBERT FROST, 1951 2. W.H. AUDEN, 1957 3. ROBERT LOWELL, 1968 ARCHAIC TORSO OF APOLLO FOUND, FOR MY BROTHER TO MY NIECE -- OUR PHOTOGRAPH IN A HAMMOCK I SAY OF ANY MAN AURORA A RAINBOW AND A DAY-OLD CALF MAN AND FAUN TOWN CREEK DIVINE PROPOSITIONS YOUR ELEMENT BLACK WATER MEMORANDA TOWARD JUNCTION MEMORANDUM 1 MEMORANDUM 2 MEMORANDUM 3 MEMORANDUM 4 MEMORANDUM 5 THE FIELD CUMAEAN SONG FOR LEONTYNE PRICE AFTER Ariadne THE ANNUAL HERON II. THE LAWS OF ICE (1986) PRAISE ONE AMBROSIA WHAT IS GODLY GOOD PLACES 1. WARM SPRINGS 2. RINCOacute;N 1 3. RINCOacute;N 2 4. CHEROKEE 5. LIGHTHOUSE, MOSQUITO INLET 6. HAWK HILL BEFORE THE FLOOD 1. HER CHOICE 2. HIS DISCOVERY DROWNED JONATHAN''S LAMENT FOR DAVID DAVID''S LAMENT FOR SAUL AND JONATHAN PORTA NIGRA LAST CONVERSATION REMEMBERING GOLDEN BELLS DEAD MAN, DYING GIRL SLEEPER IN THE VALLEY A HEAVEN FOR ELIZABETH RODWELL, MY MOTHER EPITAPHS FROM THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY THE LAWS OF ICE TWO : DAYS AND NIGHTS PREFACE 1. SALAMANDER 2. FLOOD 3. COOL 4. HMMMM 5. LUNA 6. LETTER MAN 7. RELIC 8. PRAISE ON YOUR BIRTHDAY 9. HECATOMB 10. WARNED 11. A POLAR SIMPLE 12. RIDDLE 13. THE AIM 14. SAME ROAD 15. LATE 16. EELS 17. FOR VIVIEN LEIGH 18. SECRET 19. FOR LEONTYNE PRICE 20. CAUGHT 21. CAW 22. TRANSATLANTIC 23. A LIFE IN DREAMS 24. REST 25. FOR JAMES DEAN 26. THE CLAIM 27. TV 28. NEIGHBORS 29. PEARS 30. VISION 31. THE DREAM OF REFUSAL 32. OCTOBER SUN 33. MOTHER 34. TURN 35. LATE VISIT THREE LINES OF LIFE THREE SECRETS 1. JOSEPH 2. MARY 3. JESUS ROAD THREE VISITS 1. DIONYSOS 2. APHRODITE 3. HERMES PSYCHOPOMPOS YOUR BLOOD HELIX I AM TRANSMUTING A TOMB FOR WILL PRICE MIDNIGHT HOUSE SNAKE WATCHMAN. TOWER. MIDNIGHT. III. THE USE OF FIRE (1990) ONE UNBEATEN PLAY SOCRATES AND ALCIBIADES THREE DEAD VOICES 1. DIRECTOR 2. PHOTOGRAPHER 3. TEACHER HALF OF LIFE THE EEL 1. 25 JULY 1984 2. 26 JULY 1984 3. 26-30 JULY 1984 SIX CONSOLATIONS 1. AUGUST 1939 2. JULY 1946 3. JULY 1956 4. SEPTEMBER 1961 5. OCTOBER 1976 6. NOVEMBER 1989 INITIATION MORTAL SEVEN 1. PRIDE AND SLOTH: 1985 2. ENVY AND COVETOUSNESS: 1952 3. ANGER: 1985 4. LUST AND GREED: 1962 WINTER TWO SONGS FOR JAMES TAYLOR 1. HYMN 2. DAWN (JOHN 21) DREAM ELEPHANTS NOON REST, BEST DAY TWO: DAYS AND NIGHTS 2 PREFACE 1. PRAISE 2. AGAIN 3. REX 4. THE DREAM OF SALT 5. NOCTURNE FOR A WEDDING 6. THE DREAM OF FALLING 7. BEN LONG''S DRAWING OF ME 8. 31 DECEMBER 1985 9. THICKET 10. SAMUEL BARBER 11. STEPHEN SPENDER 12. VALENTINE. HERON. 13. NEAR A MILESTONE 14. PAID 15. GOOD FRIDAY 16. EASTER SUNDAY 1986 17. BACK 18. AT SEA 19. SKY, DARK 20. TWO CAVES, A HOUSE, A GARDEN, A TOMB 1. NAZARETH, MARY''S HOUSE 2. BETHLEHEM, BIRTHPLACE 3. CAPERNAUM, PETER''S HOUSE 4. GETHSEMANE, GARDEN 5. JERUSALEM, JESUS'' SEPULCHER 6. MOUNT OF OLIVES, ROCK OF THE ASCENSION 21. A HERON, A DEER -- A SINGLE DAY 22. FIRST GREEN 23. 15 MARCH 1987 24. 16 MARCH 1987 25. SPRING TAKES THE HOMEPLACE 26. THE RESIDENT HERON 27. LIGHTS OUT 28. THE RACK 29. JIM, WITH AIDS 30. TOM, DYING OF AIDS 31. FISHERS 32. YOM KIPPUR 1983-1988 33. JIM DEAD OF AIDS AN HOUR AGO 34. TWO 35. EASTER SUNDAY 1989 36. TOM DEAD 37. DOWN AND BACK 38. THANKS 39. SCANNED 40. THE NET 41. New Music IN CLEVELAND 42. J.H. 43. MOB QUAD, OCTOBER 1955 44. AT HEAVEN''S GATE, MAY 1956 45. BOAR''S HILL, SPRING 1958 46. A HERON, A DEER -- AGAIN 47. SPIRIT FLESH, 1960 48. ANTIPODES, 1969 AND ON 49. FREE FUEL, BYRD STREET, 1948 50. FIRST LOVE, HAYES BARTON, 1948 51. ELEGY, BYRD STREET 52. 1 JANUARY 1990 53. SAFEKEEPING, 1963 AND ON 54. GIANT 55. MAYA 56. 13 FEBRUARY 1984-1990 THREE JUNCTURE YOUR EYES LOST HOMES 1. AN IRON BED IN GRANVILLE COUNTY. A GIRL AGED TWELVE. 2. A SINGLE BED. A BACK STREET IN VENICE. TWO YOUNG MEN. 3. A CLEARED RING IN THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS. A BOY AGED TWELVE, NOW A MIDDLE-AGED MAN. SIX MEMORANDA 1. IMPRECATION 2. BED 3. YOUR LIES 4. YOUR DEBT 5. MONDAY, JUNE THE SIXTH 6. FAREWELL WITH PHOTOGRAPHS WINTER 2 LAST VISIT AN AFTERLIFE, 1953-1988 IV. THE UNACCOUNTABLE WORTH OF THE WORLD (1997) ONE AN ACTUAL TEMPLE NEW ROOM THE DREAM OF THE COURT FIRST CHRISTMAS LEGS THE DREAM OF ME WALKING MID TERM ALL WILL BE WHOLE ENTRY TO MUSIC TWO: DAYS AND NIGHTS 3 PREFACE 1. FOR K.W. ON HER BIRTHDAY 2. F.H. AGAIN 3. DURHAM, 4 JUNE 1984 - FORT WORTH, 4 JUNE 1993 4. HOME FROM THE CLIBURN PIANO COMPETITION 5. TWENTY-ONE YEARS 6. RECUMBENT, SLEEPING 7. INDOORS 8. LUCK 9. A CHIPMUNK GONE AT CHRISTMAS 10. LION DREAM 11. FOR HUBERT DILWORTH DEAD IN HIS SLEEP 12. BACK AT MERTON COLLEGE 13. AFTER THE ANNUAL MRI SCAN, CLEAR 14. LIGHTNING BROWN DISCOVERS HE SHARES A BIRTHDAY WITH EMILY DICKINSON 15. AFTER AN AIDS BENEFIT 16. NEAR THE DEATH OF THE SUN 17. ON THE ROAD NORTH 18. THE DYING BELT, DOUGLAS PASCHALL GONE 19. ANNIVERSARY, 9 JANUARY 1995 20. BESIEGED BUT STRONGER 21. MERE FACT 22. THE WHEELED EROS 23. TWO FRIENDS, PARTING 24. BACK, D.V. 25. SAFE HOME 26. ON THE ROAD 27. STEPHEN SPENDER DEAD 28. NAPALM 29. WITH A.T.M., BALTIMORE 30. WITH T.M., BALTIMORE 31. TENTH MRI 32. IN THE FALL 33. NEAR THANKSGIVING 34. TOWARD AN ENDING 35. THE DREAD 36. BIRTHDAY PARTY 37. FORTY-EIGHTH BIRTHDAY 38. THE DAY ITSELF 39. TURTLE DANCE, SAN JUAN PUEBLO 40. A LONG STORM PASSING 41. SNOW 42. A CLASSICAL FRIEND 43. THE ISSUE 44. A VISIT THAT FEELS LIKE THE LAST 45. GONE 46. SCATTERING LIGHTNING IN THE SLAVE CEMETERY 47. EROS TYRANNOS 48. AN UNEXPECTED PARENT 49. SCOURED 50. A READING 51. BRIEF VISIT 52. SMALL ASTONISHMENTS 53. ECLIPSE 54. WANT 55. STUCK IN GEAR 56. QUIET EVENING 57. WHO? 58. MAY DAY 59. AT FEARRINGTON 60. LEFT 61. THE SWAP 62. WESTWARD 63. FROM HERE 64. NOB HILL THREE THE DANCING AT CANA THIS FIELD ANOTHER MEAL THE LIST FROM SO FAR A HAVEN THE DREAM OF MOTHER AND MY CANE THE BUDDHA IN GLORY SCORED BY LIGHT THE PROSPECT THE CLOSING, THE ECSTASY Acknowledgments Index of Titles
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