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Always a Reckoning and Other Poems Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 22, 1994


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Always a Reckoning and Other Poems + The Virtues of Aging (Library of Contemporary Thought)
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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype; 1 edition (November 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812924347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812924343
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

If Jimmy Stewart can publish a book of poems, so can former President Carter. These reflections on Carter's childhood, family, and political life are illustrated by his granddaughter.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Jimmy Carter's publisher is braver than Jimmy Stewart's. When the actor's verses came out some years back, review copies were not sent in any form. Times, though nervous enough not to send advance galleys, did submit the finished book of the ex-president's verse. A handsome little thing it is, presenting 44 humble yet competent enough poems, each illustrated with a drawing by Carter's granddaughter. Disposed in four groups thematically entitled "People," "Places," "Politics," and "Private Lives," the 44 are about half lightly nostalgic, often keenly evocative, autobiographical narratives and half blunt and simple reflections of his famously charitable political and social convictions. Although Carter is not in the same league in terms of literary skill or philosophical depth, his concerns, his subjects, and his attitudes recall those of Kentucky's great farmer-poet, Wendell Berry. If Carter's book of poems represents vanity publishing on the grand scale--and it does--his poetic persona doesn't sound or seem at all vain. Ray Olson

More About the Author

Jimmy Carter was born in Plains, Georgia, and served as thirty-ninth President of the United States. He and his wife, Rosalynn, founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit organization that prevents and resolves conflicts, enhances freedom and democracy, and improves health around the world. He is the author of numerous books, including Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, An Hour Before Daylight and Our Endangered Values. He received a "Best Spoken Word" Grammy Award for his recording of Our Endangered Values. All of President Carter's proceeds from this series will go to the Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains, Georgia.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
This all confirms my theory that great artists are simply great people who do art.
D. Kent
Carter's poems are conversational, like visits I have with my neighbors about various topics, and thought-provoking, as those conversations often are.
LBR Lucas
I liked the fact that as I read, I thought that I came to know Jimmy Carter much better.
Glenna E. Sanders

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Good poetry reveals something about the poet. For a moment, the reader can share the poet's feelings or experiences. Great poetry does the same thing, but unforgettably.
I admired Jimmy Carter when he was our thirty-ninth president. I was impressed by his simple, quiet intelligence and integrity, matched by his wife's internal elegance. Rosalynn, with a scarf tied `round her neck, was every bit as gracious as other first ladies wearing diamonds.
I grieved when the Carters vacated the White House. I continue to admire them, especially when I catch coverage of them hammering side by side at their annual stint with Habitat for Humanity. Many politicians help the unfortunate with taxpayers' money; some contribute their own cash or their names; few offer their time and their hands.
The autobiographical poems in Always a Reckoning are as unpretentious as their author. Carter employs a variety of forms to immortalize people and events that influenced him. Each poem is charmingly illustrated by the Carters' sixteen-year-old granddaughter.
Always a Reckoning is a worthwhile read not because it is great poetry, but because it is merely good: it provides a glimpse inside the mind of an extraordinary man.
reviewed by Andrea R. Huelsenbeck
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kent Braithwaite on August 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm a mystery author with my first novel in its initial release and a government teacher in one of the most impoverished high schools in this country. I am also a great admirer of Jimmy Carter, and I firmly believe that he deserves the next Nobel Prize (okay not for literature--the Big One--THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.) ALWAYS A RECKONING is a book that I keep on my desk in my classroom. These poems are heartfelt and they reveal much about this humble man and his life in the South as the South began to change. I will often read selected works from this book when we cover the electoral process and civil rights. These poems are honest and well-written. And, on a personal level, whenever any mystey reader questions the reality of my private eye series lead (a former politician who writes poetry), I point them to this book by this GENTLEMAN who once occupied the Oval Office.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By D. Kent on July 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Our world has more bad poetry than it has cigarettes. Poetry is either so recondite that it is no fun, or else it is so personal to the author that it is irrelevant to the reader. Carter's poems, though, attain profundity through simple exposition that is not overly personal.
Carter, of course, is not a professional poet or anything like that. But I enjoyed his poems more than most of the mainstream poets I have read. This all confirms my theory that great artists are simply great people who do art.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Sue Larson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read Jimmy Carter's book of poetry, ALWAYS A RECKONING, with the simple expectation that the poems would be heartfelt and tell stories from his life in plain, down-to-Earth prose. I was stunned to find myself moved to tears with the very first poem, "Rachel," which was dedicated to the memory of the neighbor woman who cared for Jimmy after his folks were gone. In a few short pages, Jimmy had succeeded in describing what was so special about those days with Rachel, and how important she truly was in his young life.
Other poems in ALWAYS A RECKONING are laugh-out-loud funny, such as, "Progress Does Not Always Come Easy," which describes the trials and tribulations Jimmy Carter underwent when he successfully passed his first legislation (ensuring that deceased citizens lose their voting rights), which turned out to be quite unpopular in every precinct with a cemetery!
ALWAYS A RECKONING is a rare gem of a book that gives readers a sense of the inner beauty of Jimmy Carter's heart and soul.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LBR Lucas on February 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If one follows Samuel Taylor Coleridge's definition that prose is words in their best order and poetry is the best words in their best order, then Jimmy Carter acquits himself nicely as a poet. This volume would make for pleasant reading even if its author weren't a former president.

Like other reviewers, I find my favorite piece is Carter's tribute to Rachel Clark. Another poem that touched me is about "Sport."

Carter's poems are conversational, like visits I have with my neighbors about various topics, and thought-provoking, as those conversations often are. You go along with your day and realize you've just learned something remarkable--and you're glad to know it. I like Carter better for having read his poems.

The Booklist review calls this "vanity publishing on a grand scale." That may be true, but most vanity publications don't stay in print for long. It's no accident that this has been selling since 1994.
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