The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry

The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry

by Michael Collier

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<P>Since issuing its first volumes in 1959, the Wesleyan poetry program has challenged the reigning aesthetic of the time and profoundly influenced the development of American poetry. One of the country's oldest programs, its greatest achievement has been the publication of early works by yet undiscovered poetry who have since become major awarded Pulitzer and Bollingen prizes, National Book Awards, and many other honors. At a time when other programs are being phased out, Wesleyan takes this opportunity to celebrate its distinguished history and reaffirm its commitment to poetry with publication of The Wesleyan Tradition.</P><P>Drawing from some 250 volumes, editor Michael Collier documents the wide-ranging impact of these works. In his introduction, he describes the literary and cultural context of American poetics in more recent decades, tracing the evolution of the Deep Image and Confessional movements of the 50s and 60s, and exploring the emergence of the "prose lyric" style. Although the success of the Wesleyan program has inspired its share of imitators, no other program has had such a fundamental impact. Works by the eighty-six poets included her both document and celebrate that contribution.</P>

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780819570949
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publication date: 08/22/2012
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 316
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

<P>MICHAEL COLLIER has won several awards and fellowships for his poetry, a "Discovery" / The Nation award (1981), the 1988 Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, a Thomas J. Watson fellowship, a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and an NEA creative writing fellowship. A graduate of Connecticut College (B.A. 1976) and the University of Arizona (M.F.A. 1979), Collier has traveled widely—from London to northern Africa to Siberia and Japan—and worked at various times as a house painter and a community activist. He is an assistant professor of English and associate director of creative writing at the University of Maryland and a visiting assistant professor in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He was director of the summer writers' conference at Johns Hopkins in 1987 and coordinator of poetry programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library in 1983-84. His first book, The Clasp and Other Poems, was published by Wesleyan in 1986.</P>

Read an Excerpt


First Decade

Early Supper

Laughter of children brings
  The kitchen down with laughter.
While the old kettle sings Laughter of children brings To a boil all savory things.
  Higher than beam or rafter,
Laughter of children brings
  The kitchen down with laughter.

So ends an autumn day,
  Light ripples on the ceiling,
Dishes are stacked away;
So ends an autumn day,
The children jog and sway
  In comic dances wheeling.
So ends an autumn day,
  Light ripples on the ceiling.

They trail upstairs to bed,
  And night is a dark tower.
The kettle calls: instead They trail upstairs to bed,
Leaving warmth, the coppery-red
  Mood of their carnival hour.
They trail upstairs to bed,
  And night is a dark tower.

Barbara Howes, 1959

The Blue Garden

  Blue: aconite, deadly;
Iris, a grape Hyacinth, or tulip
    Bulb lives deep
  Down under; in March
  They drill up through that frozen
    Turf. —
    Blue often reverts to magenta.

  Blue: larkspur
    Sets its annual
  Poisonous Sights at six feet; — each Year the
  Delphinium, too,
    Kills lice;
And both revert to magenta.

  Blue: the delicate fringed
    Gentian is a rarity
    To be protected,
  As gentian
  Violet is either
    Elegance or tincture;
Still, these too can revert to magenta.

  Blue: cornflowers
    Secure in their August
    Field, like bachelor's Buttons, asters — reliable
    As wheat — return
    For their violet season;
What tone is magenta?

  It must be autumn's
  Color: camouflage: white-
Tailed deer, red maples Drying, that brown hawk diving
  Grey as a pellet: a hodgepodge
  Of pigment; middle-
    Age has its own hue,
Which can easily revert to magenta.

  Even so, our yarn of blood
    Knits us together,
    Working Its own narrative ...
  This color may hold — blue
  As some eyes are — and not

Revert, but keep cobalt, cobalt.

Barbara Howes, 1972

Jim Desterland

As I was fishing off Pondy Point Between the dies, the sea so still —
Only a whisper against the boat —
No other sound but the scream of a gull,
I heard the voice you will never hear Filling the crannies of the air.

The doors swung open, the little doors,
The door, the hatch within the brain,
And like the bellowing of ruin The surf upon the thousand shores Swept through me, and the thunder-noise Of all the waves of all the seas.

The doors swung shut, the little doors,
The door, the hatch within the ear,
And I was fishing off Pondy Pier,
And all was as it was before,
With only the whisper of the swell Against the boat, and the cry of a gull.

I draw a sight from tree to tree Crossing this other from knoll to rock,
To mark the place. Into the sea My line falls with an empty hook,
Yet fools the world. So day and night I crouch upon the thwarts and wait.

There is a roaring in the skies The great globes make, and there is the sound Of all the atoms whirling round That one can hear if one is wise —
Wiser than most — if one has heard The doors, the little doors, swing wide.

Hyam Plutzik, 1959

The Premonition

Trying to imagine a poem of the future,
I saw a nameless jewel lying Lurid on a table of black velvet.

Light winked there like eyes half-lidded,
Raying the dark with signals,
Lunar, mineral, maddening As that white night-flower herself,
And with her delusive chastity.

Then one said: "I am the poet of the damned.
My eyes are seared with the darkness that you willed me.
This jewel is my heart, which I no longer need."

Hyam Plutzik, 1959

I Dreamed That in a City Dark as Paris

I dreamed that in a city dark as Paris I stood alone in a deserted square.
The night was trembling with a violet Expectancy. At the far edge it moved And rumbled; on that flickering horizon The guns were pumping color in the sky.

There was the Front. But I was lonely here,
Left behind, abandoned by the army.
The empty city and the empty square Was my inhabitation, my unrest.
The helmet with its vestige of a crest,
The rifle in my hands, long out of date,
The belt I wore, the trailing overcoat And hobnail boots, were those of a poilu.
I was the man, as awkward as a bear.

Over the rooftops where cathedrals loomed In speaking majesty, two aeroplanes Forlorn as birds, appeared. Then growing large,
The German Taube and the Nieuport Scout,
They chased each other tumbling through the sky,
Till one streamed down on fire to the earth.

These wars have been so great, they are forgotten Like the Egyptian dynasts. My confrere In whose thick boots I stood, were you amazed To wander through my brain four decades later As I have wandered in a dream through yours?

The violence of waking life disrupts The order of our death. Strange dreams occur,
For dreams are licensed as they never were.

Louis Simpson, 1959

Landscape with Barns

The barns like scarlet lungs are breathing in Pneumonia. The North wind smells of iron.
It's winter on the farm. The Hupmobile That broke its back is dying at the fence.
At night in a thin house we watch TV While moonlight falls in silence, drop by drop.

The country that Columbus thought he found Is called America. It looks unreal,
Unreal in winter and unreal in summer.
When movies spread their giants on the air The boys drive to the next town, drunk on nothing.
Youth has the secret. Only death looks real.

We never die. When we are old we vanish Into the basement where we have our hobbies.
Enough, when something breaks, that widows mourn
"He would have fixed it. He knew what to do."
And life is always borrowing and lending Like a good neighbor. How can we refuse?

Louis Simpson, 1959

Carentan O Carentan

Trees in the old days used to stand And shape a shady lane Where lovers wandered hand in hand Who came from Carentan.

This was the shining green canal Where we came two by two Walking at combat-interval.
Such trees we never knew.

The day was early June, the ground Was soft and bright with dew.
Far away the guns did sound,
But here the sky was blue.

The sky was blue, but there a smoke Hung still above the sea Where the ships together spoke To towns we could not see.

Could you have seen us through a glass You would have said a walk Of farmers out to turn the grass,
Each with his own hay-fork.

The watchers in their leopard suits Waited till it was time,
And aimed between the belt and boot And let the barrel climb.

I must lie down at once, there is A hammer at my knee.
And call it death or cowardice,
Don't count again on me.

Everything's alright, Mother,
Everyone gets the same At one time or another.
It's all in the game.

I never strolled, nor ever shall,
Down such a leafy lane.
I never drank in a canal,
Nor ever shall again.

There is a whistling in the leaves And it is not the wind,
The twigs are falling from the knives That cut men to the ground.

Tell me, Master-Sergeant,
The way to turn and shoot.
But the Sergeant's silent That taught me how to do it.

O Captain, show us quickly Our place upon the map.
But the Captain's sickly And taking a long nap.

Lieutenant, what's my duty,
My place in the platoon?
He too's a sleeping beauty,
Charmed by that strange tune.

Carentan O Carentan Before we met with you We never yet had lost a man Or known what death could do.

Louis Simpson, 1959

In California

Here I am, troubling the dream coast With my New York face,
Bearing among the realtors And tennis-players my dark preoccupation.

There once was an epical clatter —
Voices and banjos, Tennessee, Ohio,
Rising like incense in the sight of heaven.
Today, there is an angel in the gate.

Lie back, Walt Whitman,
There on the fabulous raft with the King and the
For the white row of the Marina Faces the Rock. Turn round the wagons here.

Lie back! We cannot bear The stars any more, those infinite spaces.
Let the realtors divide the mountain,
For they have already subdivided the valley.

Rectangular city blocks astonished Herodotus in Babylon,
Cortez in Tenochtitlan,
And here's the same old city-planner, death.

We cannot turn or stay.
For though we sleep, and let the reins fall slack,
The great cloud-wagons move Outward still, dreaming of a Pacific.

Louis Simpson, 1963

In the Suburbs

There's no way out.
You were born to waste your life.
You were born to this middleclass life.

As others before you Were born to walk in procession To the temple, singing.

Louis Simpson, 1963

My Father in the Night Commanding No

My father in the night commanding No Has work to do. Smoke issues from his lips;
  He reads in silence.
The frogs are croaking and the streetlamps glow.

And then my mother winds the gramophone;
The Bride of Lammermoor begins to shriek —
  Or reads a story About a prince, a castle, and a dragon.

The moon is glittering above the hill.
I stand before the gateposts of the King —
  So runs the story —
Of Thule, at midnight when the mice are still.

And I have been in Thule! It has come true —
The journey and the danger of the world,
  All that there is To bear and to enjoy, endure and do.

Landscapes, seascapes ... where have I been led?
The names of cities — Paris, Venice, Rome —
  Held out their arms.
A feathered god, seductive, went ahead.

Here is my house. Under a red rose tree A child is swinging; another gravely plays.
  They are not surprised That I am here; they were expecting me.

And yet my father sits and reads in silence,
My mother sheds a tear, the moon is still,
  And the dark wind Is murmuring that nothing ever happens.

Beyond his jurisdiction as I move Do I not prove him wrong? And yet, it's true
  They will not change There, on the stage of terror and of love.

The actors in that playhouse always sit In fixed positions — father, mother, child
  With painted eyes.
How sad it is to be a little puppet!

Their heads are wooden. And you once pretended To understand them! Shake them as you will,
  They cannot speak.
Do what you will, the comedy is ended.

Father, why did you work? Why did you weep,
Mother? Was the story so important?
  "Listen!" the wind Said to the children, and they fell asleep.

Louis Simpson, 1963

American Poetry

Whatever it is, it must have A stomach that can digest Rubber, coal, uranium, moons, poems.

Like the shark, it contains a shoe.
It must swim for miles through the desert Uttering cries that are almost human.

Louis Simpson, 1963

The Troika

Troika, troika! The snow moon whirls through the forest.

Where lamplight like a knife gleams through a door, I see two graybeards bending.
They're playing chess, it seems. And then one rises and stands in silence. Does he hear me passing?

Troika, troika! In the moonlight his spirit hears my spirit passing.

I whip the horses on. The houses vanish.
The moon looks over fields littered with debris. And there in trenches the guardsmen stand, wind fluttering their rags.

And there were darker fields without a moon.
I walk across a field, bound on an errand.
The errand's forgotten — something depended on it.
A nightmare! I have lost my father's horses!

And then a white bird rises and goes before me, hopping through the forest.

I held the bird — it vanished with a cry,
and on a branch a girl sat sideways, combing her long black hair. The dew shone on her lips; her breasts were white as roses.

Troika, troika! Three white horses,
a whip of silver, and my father's sleigh ...

When morning breaks, the sea gleams through the branches,
and the white bird, enchanted,
is flying through the world, across the sea.

Louis Simpson, 1963

On the Lawn at the Villa

On the lawn at the villa —
That's the way to start, eh, reader?
We know where we stand — somewhere expensive —
You and I imperturbes, as Walt would say,
Before the diversions of wealth, you and I engagés.

On the lawn at the villa Sat a manufacturer of explosives,
His wife from Paris,
And a young man named Bruno,

And myself, being American,
Willing to talk to these malefactors,
The manufacturer of explosives, and so on,
But somehow superior. By that I mean democratic.
It's complicated, being an American,
Having the money and the bad conscience, both at
  the same time.
Perhaps, after all, this is not the right subject
  for a poem.

We were all sitting there paralyzed In the hot Tuscan afternoon,
And the bodies of the machine-gun crew were draped
  over the balcony.
So we sat there all afternoon.

Louis Simpson, 1963

A Fit Against the Country

The stone turns over slowly,
Under the side one sees The pale flint covered wholly With whorls and prints of leaf.
After the moss rubs off It gleams beneath the trees,
Till all the birds lie down.
Hand, you have held that stone.

The sparrow's throat goes hollow,
When the tense air forebodes Rain to the sagging willow And leaves the pasture moist.

The slow, cracked song is lost Far up and down wet roads,
Rain drowns the sparrow's tongue.
Ear, you have heard that song.

Suddenly on the eye Feathers of morning fall,
Tanagers float away To sort the blackberry theft.
Though sparrows alone are left To sound the dawn, and call Awake the heart's gray dolor,
Eye, you have seen bright color.

Odor of fallen apple Met you across the air,
The yellow globe lay purple With bruises underfoot;
And, ravished out of thought,
Both of you had your share,
Sharp nose and watered mouth,
Of the dark tang of earth.

Yet, body, hold your humor Away from the tempting tree,
The grass, the luring summer That summon the flesh to fall.
Be glad of the green wall You climbed across one day,
When winter stung with ice That vacant paradise.

James Wright, 1957

At Thomas Hardy's Birthplace, 1953

The nurse carried him up the stair Into his mother's sleeping room.
The beeches lashed the roof and dragged the air
  Because of storm.

Wind could have overturned the dead.
Moth and beetle and housefly crept Under the door to find the lamp, and cowered:
  But still he slept.

The ache and sorrow of darkened earth Left pathways soft and meadows sodden;
The small Frome overflowed the firth,
  And he lay hidden

In the arms of the tall woman gone To soothe his mother during the dark;
Nestled against the awkward flesh and bone When the rain broke.

Last night at Stinsford where his heart Is buried now, the rain came down.
Cold to the hidden joy, the secret hurt,
  His heart is stone.

But over the dead leaves in the wet The mouse goes snooping, and the bird.
Something the voiceless earth does not forget
  They come to guard,

Maybe, the heart who would not tell Whatever secret he learned from the ground,
Who turned aside and heard the human wail,
  That other sound.

More likely, though, the laboring feet Of fieldmouse, hedgehog, moth and hawk Seek in the storm what comfort they can get
  Under the rock

Where surely the heart will not wake again To endure the unending beat of the air,
Having been nursed beyond the sopping rain,
  Back down the stair.

James Wright, 1959

Saint Judas

When I went out to kill myself, I caught A pack of hoodlums beating up a man.
Running to spare his suffering, I forgot My name, my number, how my day began,
How soldiers milled around the garden stone And sang amusing songs; how all that day Their javelins measured crowds; how I alone Bargained the proper coins, and slipped away.

Banished from heaven, I found this victim beaten,
Stripped, kneed, and left to cry. Dropping my rope Aside, I ran, ignored the uniforms:
Then I remembered bread my flesh had eaten,
The kiss that ate my flesh. Flayed without hope,
I held the man for nothing in my arms.

James Wright, 1959

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

James Wright, 1963

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio

In the Shreve High football stadium,
I think of Polacks nursing long beers in Tiltonsville,
And gray faces of Negroes in the blast furnace at Benwood,
And the ruptured night watchman of Wheeling Steel,
Dreaming of heroes.

All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
Their women cluck like starved pullets,
Dying for love.

Their sons grow suicidally beautiful At the beginning of October,
And gallop terribly against each other's bodies.

James Wright, 1963

A Blessing

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear

That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize That if I stepped out of my body I would break Into blossom.

James Wright, 1963


Excerpted from "The Wesleyan Tradition"
by .
Copyright © 1993 Wesleyan University.
Excerpted by permission of Wesleyan University Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

First Decade,
Barbara Howes,
Early Supper,
The Blue Garden,
Hyam Plutzik,
Jim Desterland,
The Premonition,
Louis Simpson,
I Dreamed That in a City Dark as Paris,
Landscape with Barns,
Carentan O Carentan,
In California,
In the Suburbs,
My Father in the Night Commanding No,
American Poetry,
The Troika,
On the Lawn at the Villa,
James Wright,
A Fit Against the Country,
At Thomas Hardy's Birthplace, 1953,
Saint Judas,
Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota,
Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio,
A Blessing,
Two Poems about President Harding,
Outside Fargo, North Dakota,
The Old WPA Swimming Pool in Martins Ferry, Ohio,
The Journey,
David Ferry,
My Parents En Route,
The Soldier,
Robert Francis,
Three Darks Come Down Together,
Blue Jay,
Dog-Day Night,
Donald Justice,
The Poet at Seven,
Here in Katmandu,
On a Painting by Patient B of the Independence State Hospital for the Insane,
Variations for Two Pianos,
Men at Forty,
Bus Stop,
Vassar Miller,
Adam's Footprint,
Remembering Aunt Helen,
Robert Bagg,
Ezra Pound and Robert Bridges,
Death at Pocono Lake Preserve,
Alan Ansen,
A Fit of Something Against Something,
David Ignatow,
Walt Whitman in the Civil War Hospitals,
Figures of the Human,
Rescue the Dead,
The Refuse Man,
In the Dark,
'The dog barks and is for the moment a dog heard',
White-haired, I walk in on my parents,
John Ashbery,
The Tennis Court Oath,
Two Sonnets,
Our Youth,
The Ticket,
from The New Realism,
Robert Bly,
Surprised by Evening,
Sunset at a Lake,
Driving Toward the Lac Qui Parle River,
Remembering in Oslo the Old Picture of the Magna Carta,
After Drinking All Night with a Friend, We Go Out in a Boat at Dawn to See Who Can Write the Best Poem,
James Dickey,
The Performance,
A Screened Porch in the Country,
Hunting Civil War Relics at Nimblewill Creek,
In the Mountain Tent,
The Dusk of Horses,
Buckdancer's Choice,
The Leap,
Coming Back to America,
Night Bird,
Richard Howard,
Agreement with Sir Charles Sedley,
Seeing Cousin Phyllis Off,
Donald Petersen,
Ballad of Dead Yankees,
Vern Rutsala,
Lovers in Summer,
Late at Night,
W. R. Moses,
Night Wind in Fall,
Dark and Dark,
Turner Cassity,
Epigoni Go French Line,
John Haines,
The Field of the Caribou,
The House of the Injured,
Dürer's Vision,
Choosing a Stone,
There Are No Such Trees in Alpine, California,
Mothball Fleet: Benicia, California,
Harvey Shapiro,
National Cold Storage Company,
For W C W,
Hello There!,
After the Love-making,
Josephine Miles,
'When Sanders brings feed to his chickens',
'When I was eight, I put in the left-hand drawer',
Michael Benedikt,
Events by Moonlight,
Dossier of the Torturer,
The Nipplewhip,
Philip Levine,
Blasting from Heaven,
To a Child Trapped in a Barber Shop,
The Cemetery at Academy, California,
The Midget,
Baby Villon,
Animals Are Passing from Our Lives,
Marge Piercy,
A Kid on Her Way,
Landed Fish,
The Death of the Small Commune,
Learning Experience,
Leonard Nathan,
The Day the Perfect Speakers Left,
An Answer of Sorts,
Anne Stevenson,
The Suburb,
Richard Tillinghast,
Dozing on the Porch with an Oriental Lap-rug,
The Knife,
Our Flag Was Still There,
Second Decade,
James Seay,
Let Not Your Hart Be Truble,
The Ballet of Happiness,
Charles Wright,
The New Poem,
Dog Creek Mainline,
Virgo Descending,
Rural Route,
Remembering San Zeno,
Stone Canyon Nocturne,
William Harmon,
from Treasury Holiday,
from Legion: Civic Choruses, The Ceremony(y)(ies) of Mutability,
Invoice No. 13, A Masque of Resignation,
Clarence Major,
Swallow the Lake,
My Seasonal Body, My Ears,
William Dickey,
'So full of sleep are those who lose the way?,
Russell Edson,
The Floor,
The Large Thing,
The Tearing and Merging of Clouds ...,
The Way Things Are,
The Rat's Legs,
Judith Hemschemeyer,
My Grandmother Had Bones,
Giving Birth in Greek,
Eleanor Lerman,
Margaret Whiting Tearfully Sings,
Evenings in the Sea,
Calvin Forbes,
Gabriel's Blues,
My Father's House,
Barbara L. Greenberg,
Mother, R.I.P.,
David Ray,
A Midnight Diner by Edward Hopper,
On the Photograph 'Yarn Mill,' by Lewis W. Hine,
Sherley Williams,
This Is a Sad-Ass Poem for a Black Woman to Be Writing,
For Ronald King Our Brother,
James Tate,
The Lost Pilot,
A Guide to the Stone Age,
A Dime Found in the Snow,
Goodtime Jesus,
Land of Little Sticks, 1945,
Consolations After an Affair,
Ellen Bryant Voigt,
At the Edge of Winter,
Claiming Kin,
The Heart is the Target,
The Visit,
Steve Orlen,
Ukrainian Pastoral,
The Biplane,
Anne Hussey,
Saturday Night,
Ezra Pound's Eye,
Third Decade,
Lawrence Kearney,
After the Interrogation,
Elizabeth Spires,
Courtesan with Fan,
Lloyd Schwartz,
Garrett Hongo,
Yellow Light,
Stay with Me,
Who Among You Knows the Essence of Garlic?,
The Hongo Store,
Rachel Hadas,
Forgetting Greek,
Susan Mitchell,
Once, Driving West of Billings, Montana,
The Dead,
Tent Caterpillars,
Colleen McElroy,
Dreams of Johnson Grass,
With Bill Pickett at the 101 Ranch,
For Want of a Male a Shoe Was Lost,
Yusef Komunyakaa,
Elegy for Thelonious,
Landscape for the Disappeared,
Starlight Scope Myopia,
Camouflaging the Chimera,
My Father's Love Letters,
Jeffrey Skinner,
Ballad of the Swimming Angel,
Rolling in Clover,
Brenda Hillman,
Thoreau's Fossil Lilies,
Cleave and Cleave,
Quartz Tractate,
Mighty Forms,
Thulani Davis,
C.T.'s variation,
Paul Zweig,
A Fly on the Water,
The End Circulates in the Wide Space of Summer,
Marianne Boruch,
Krakow and the Girl of Twelve,
My Son and I Go See Horses,
Olga Broumas and Jane Miller,
from Black Holes, Black Stockings,
'Round Sunday',
'There's a song of privacy ...',
Gregory Orr,
A Parable,
Gathering the Bones Together,
The Weeds,
The Mother,
Pattiann Rogers,
Eulogy for a Hermit Crab,
The Objects of Immortality,
Don Bogen,
The House Destroyed by Fire,
The Last Installment,
David Young,
In My Own Back Yard,
Ralph Angel,
As It Is,
Heather McHugh,
Take Care,
I Knew I'd Sing,
20-200 on 747,
What Hell Is,
Robert Morgan,
Hay Scuttle,
Ghosts in the Carpet,
Agha Shahid Ali,
A Dream of Glass Bangles,
In the Mountains,
Robert Mezey,
Trying to Begin,
The Stream Flowing,
Judith Baumel,
Thirty-six Poets,
Jordan Smith,
Dean Young,
Twilight with Xs,
Rothko's Yellow,
Jane Hirshfield,
In a Net of Blue and Gold,
Justice without Passion,
For the Women of Poland: December 1981,
Bin Ramke,
Compulsion as the Critical Element in a Defined Perversion,
Sherod Santos,
Married Love,
Near the Desert Test Sites,
Fourth Decade,
Maria Flook,
The Continental Divide,
Joy Harjo,
Song for the Deer and Myself to Return On,
Eagle Poem,
Susan Howe,
from Articulation of Sound Forms in Time,
from 1. The Falls Fight,
from 2. Hope Atherton's Wanderings,
from 3. Taking the Forest,
Mark Jarman,
The Children,
The Black Riviera,
The Gift,
Campbell McGrath,
Sunrise and Moonfall, Rosarito Beach,
What They Drank,
Dialectical Poem #1,
Donald Revell,
New Dark Ages,
Pamela Alexander,
Audubon Enfant,
At Coueron. My First Gun.,
Claire Bateman,
Nancy Eimers,
Another Kimono,
No Friends of the Heart,
Boyer Rickel,
Night Sweats,
Poem to Begin the Second Decade of AIDS,
Roberta Spear,
Chestnuts for Verdi,
Jonathan Aaron,
The Sighting,
Walid Bitar,
Looking You in the Back of the Head,
Appendix: Wesleyan Poetry,
Author Index,

What People are Saying About This

David St. John

"An absolutely fascinating and compelling anthology; it represents much of the best of the poetry that has been written in this country over the past forty years and a remarkable number of our finest poems as well. This anthology makes clear the seminal role that Wesleyan University Press has had in shaping the course, direction, and progress of poetry in America since the Fifties."

From the Publisher

"An absolutely fascinating and compelling anthology; it represents much of the best of the poetry that has been written in this country over the past forty years and a remarkable number of our finest poems as well. This anthology makes clear the seminal role that Wesleyan University Press has had in shaping the course, direction, and progress of poetry in America since the Fifties." —David St. John

"A splendid work that has been splendidly edited. It shows the tremendous commitment that the Press has made to contemporary poetry over the past forty years. And it both demonstrates and reminds us of the central position that the Wesleyan Poetry Series has had in American poetry since World War II. This is a decisive anthology."—Edward Hirsch

Edward Hirsch

“A splendid work that has been splendidly edited. It shows the tremendous commitment that the Press has made to contemporary poetry over the past forty years. And it both demonstrates and reminds us of the central position that the Wesleyan Poetry Series has had in American poetry since World War II. This is a decisive anthology.”

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