Qty:1
  • List Price: $21.00
  • Save: $4.50 (21%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Above the River: The Comp... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Clean copy, no markings. previous owner name
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Above the River: The Complete Poems Paperback – April 1, 1992


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$16.50
$6.42 $3.98
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$33.00

Frequently Bought Together

Above the River: The Complete Poems + 20th Century Pleasures + Space, In Chains (Lannan Literary Selections)
Price for all three: $44.95

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (April 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374522820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374522827
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wright (1927-1980) has enjoyed a widespread influence on American poets; this collection of his life's work eloquently shows why. Born to a working-class family in Ohio, Wright was educated at Kenyon College, and though he traveled to Europe and lived in New York City, in his poetry he returned in an often elegiac mode to his industrially marred but still suggestive native Midwestern landscape. Writing with a "lonely wisdom" of life's fragility, Wright has few peers; his regrets over the limits of mortality, love and language are tempered, with utmost tenderness, by a sympathetic willingness to experience and endure. In purity of image, rhythm and solitariness of tone, Wright reflects the work of his admired Theodore Roethke and Edgar Arlington Robinson, as well as that of Robert Frost, but the aura of delicately wistful dreaming evoked in matchless free verse is his alone. In this collection, readers can handily compare Wright's early formal poems with his later, more fluid style; sandwiched in are his translations of work by Cesar Vallejo, Pablo Neruda and others.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Wright is one of the most influential poets of our time, and this volume reflects 40 years' work. As a young man, and a Yale Younger poet (1957), he embraced traditional forms even while addressing nontraditional subject matter: "When I went out to kill myself, I caught/ A pack of hoodlums beating up a man." The true power of Wright's poetry is most obvious in his free verse, where simple images and "the pure clean word" were all he needed to capture the almost unbearable tension between deathward suffering and the desire to endure, to love, and to accept the world's pleasures: "Suddenly I realize/That if I stepped out of my body I would break/ Into blossom." Wright's later poems are his best, a blend of pictures and sound, but whether he is writing tight iambs about his hometown in Ohio, free and daring lines about cold Minnesota, or even prose poems celebrating his Italian summers, his is "The poetry of a grown man." Essential for all serious collections.
- Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By rmcd@amlibs.com Russell McDonald on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Both straightforward and evocative, James Wright's poetry is concerned with life's minutae and immense mystery. Combining a rural eye for the country with a critical intellect, many of his poems flirt with the central polarity of existence and death, particularly of the spirit, which he saw often in the blue collar world of his youth. Wright's poems find redemption through immersion in all of its aspects, much like the whores of Wheeling, West Virginia emerging from the Ohio River "drying their wings". The hopeless struggle for meaning and value imbue life with just those qualities, as he writes in 'Small Frogs Killed on the Highway': Still/I would leap too/Into the light/If I had the chance.
I recommend that you leap into the light for this book of poems. It is an important collection of poetry for anyone interested in post-war American poetry or American poetry in general.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Brian Woerner on October 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
This collection of Wright's work includes his experiments with formal blank verse, translations of German poets, experimental prose pieces, and characteristic free verse that made him one of America's strongest national poets with a regional identity. Wright's topics range from the pastoral landscape of people, wildlife, and industry near his Ohio hometown to the philosophical challenges of individuality, death, renewal, and union. The gray mountains, coal trains, steel bridges and murky Ohio River take their places beside docile horses, musical insects and colorful characters. But never does Wright falter to the mere reporting of a landscape through his poetry; the vision is always fresh, exacting, tense, and redemptive. I have used his work with many of my English students, and the feedback is celebratory. If you are a fan of poetry or a student of the craft, familiarize yourself with this book. Donald Hall's wonderful preface does justice to one of America's most fondly remembered poets.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
James Wright's mastery of the traditional formal elements of poetry coupled with his contemporary and timeless themes makes his collection of poetry one of the best I have ever read. The first reading of his works leaves the reader wondering. The second brings comprehension. The third and any subsequent readings mesmerize as Wright's web of imagery and contemplation becomes more intricate. It is a shame that more readers do not know of his fascinating works.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By M. Swinney on September 29, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I hate to give this work anything less than 5-stars, because at the moment (and probably most future moments) I revere James Wright's poetry. He makes blue collar blackened river Ohio come alive riven death with darkness and life. So this book is a must for poetry lovers.
Where it distracts me is the attempts at completeness is a difficult editor's dilemma and one that doesn't serve the poet or the poet's reader well here. There are two James Wright's out there (this book presents three), as is true with most sublimated artist that pass through a learning phase before hitting on their voice, their style.
James Wright started as a formalist (not my favored style) hailing structure and rhyme sometimes at the expense of meaning and language (disclaimer...one man's humble opinion belies a personal taste and no two taste buds seem the same). The book of course being a complete work, offers all of those poems of bandied prose. And then the editor offers a bridge or break of sorts in Wright's translated works of German and Spanish poets. Wright was a great poet in English, but the gift of gifted translation should have been left to the likes of W.S. Merwin, Anthony Kerrigan, Charles Tomlinson, and Stephen Mitchell for Neruda, Paz, and Rilke.
So, Wright's "Above the River," really first breaks the surface on page 119 after his epiphany to all thing free form. It is then that his poetry sings darkly. I leave you with some of Wright's beautiful language (there's plenty to be had). Buy the book for the rest.
In Fear of Harvests
It has happened
Before: nearby,
The nostrils of slow horses
Breathe evenly,
And the brown bees drag their high garlands,
Heavily,
Toward hives of snow.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Tedford on June 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Wright's poems are acts of courage. His persistent advocacy of the underdog is real and clear-eyed(American Twilights 1957, written fo the executed killer Caryl Chessman). "Arrangements with Earth for Three Dead Friends" is one of the most moving elegies I know in the language (taken from his early career). Then there are the wonderful and luminous translations "ten Short Poems: from the Spanish of Juan Ramon Jiminez, Pablo Neruda's "Anguish of Death", Cesar Vallejo's "I Am Freed" and many others. These are vital and wide-ranging poems that belong in every library.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rae desmond jones on March 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This volume is fascinating, because it does show the different stages of Wright's development as a poet and a writer (the prose sketches and descriptions of Italy are wonderful).

The early poems are extremely capable but there is a sense in which they feel constrained by formal verse conventions, especially rhyme. This becomes evident when he writes in free verse and his voice becomes easier and more vernacular. Some of the poems like "Hook" and "To A Blossoming Pear Tree" are wonderful:

'An old man / Appeared to me once / In the unendurable snow./ He had singe of white beard on his face. / He paused on a strett on Minneapolis / And stroked my face. // Give it to me, he begged / I'll pay you anything. // I flinched. Both terrified, / We slunk away, / Each in his own way dodging / The cruel darts of the cold. "

There are some late poems when he becomes almost incoherent, but the centre of the book is a whole series of poems as powerful and honest as this.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again