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Anterooms: New Poems and Translations 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0547358116
ISBN-10: 0547358113
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wilbur, who turns 90 next year, has stood for decades in the front rank of American poets who know how to use traditional forms: his confident rhymes and stanzas are second to none, their poise perhaps unsurpassed since Frost, and like Frost he can combine smooth popular appeal with a startling dark side. One of the best of the new poems, "Terza Rima," remembers a "dead/ Enemy soldier" in WWII whose corpse Wilbur struck with his jeep. Other new poems strive equably to describe the mixed emotions of later life: "Psalm" lauds "the stops of the sweet flute/ Or capering fife," but concludes by asking its musician "in grave relief/ Praise too our sorrows on the/ Cello of shared grief." As in most of his volumes, Wilbur mixes original verse with new translations: "Thirty-Seven Riddles from Symphosius" turns into triple-rhymed pentameter such Latin kennings as "I once was water, and soon shall be again" (i.e., ice). Wilbur, a former poet laureate and Pulitzer winner, has written verse for children, too, and he rounds out the volume with the latest in that line: "If carp is in your carport go find out/ Whether the living room is full of trout." This volume's gems measure up to Wilbur's high standards. (Nov.)
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Review

"[Wilbur] stood for decades in the front rank of American poets who know how to use traditional forms: his confident rhymes and stanzas are second to none, their poise perhaps unsurpassed since Frost, and like Frost he can combine smooth popular appeal with a startling dark side. . . . This volume's gems measure up to Wilbur's high standards." —Publishers Weekly

"Richard Wilbur’s imagination has long regarded life in the bud—the seedling, the fledgling, the sprout, the egg. Approaching ninety, this American master is ever more elegantly brooding over beginnings, as in the ‘clenched bloom’ of ‘A Pasture Poem’ in this new volume. His flowering never ceases to unfold." —Mary Jo Salter

"When the Roman poet Horace described what a master poet does, he was describing what the American master poet Richard Wilbur does in his wonderful new book. There’s perfection of music and utterance everywhere in these brave, witty, radiant new poems. There’s exaltation here. He makes it look like child’s play." —David Ferry


"In 1947, Richard Wilbur broke into the literary big leagues with his stunning first collection of poems, The Beautiful Changes; and as Anterooms demonstrates, he is still regularly hitting the ball out of the park sixty-three years later. I can’t think of any other American author who has written so wonderfully well, decade after decade. These remarkable new poems feature his characteristic genius for the right word and for metaphors that startle with their freshness and accuracy. And the poems remind us that his singular achievement has resulted not only from his masterful and continually maturing craftsmanship, but also and even more so, from his appreciative attention to the physical universe and his sympathy with those who inhabit it." —Timothy Steele


"A new collection by our greatest living poet is cause for wonder and gratitude. Wilbur searches both the natural world and the human heart for hard truths he renders with a matchless grace. Anterooms bursts with a ripened and rueful joy. This is a book not just for your shelves but for the ages." —J. D. McClatchy

"For a long time now, Richard Wilbur has reigned as our finest lyric poet. The title still belongs to him, as Anterooms (what a joy!) proves several times over." —X. J. Kennedy

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (November 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547358113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547358116
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,002,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This slim, gentle volume is so full of fragile beauty that I felt I should handle its cover and pages tenderly, for Richard Wilbur's words seem to be alive with the essence of what life is all about. He has an artist`s eye to see the beautiful in the ordinary, the musician's ear in the cadence of his verses, and a poet's heart that will at once uplift, humble, and bring one to a deeper place, with the magical quality of his words.

Our Poet Laureate of 1987-88, and winner of innumerable awards including the Pulitzer twice, Wilbur is also a master at translation, and we get a sample of that talent here, with his Mallarme, Verlaine, and Brodsky translations, as well as some translated from Latin, in Horace 11,10, and 37 charming Riddles from Symphosius.

My favorite selection is Ecclesiastes 11:1, six simple verses which end with:
Betting crust and crumb
That birds will gather, and that
One more spring will come.

May many more springs come for Richard Wilbur, our beloved poet, who in now advanced in years, and has such insight into the human soul.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
(4.5 stars) Richard Wilbur, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, will be ninety next year but fortunately for us, he continues to produce his own rhythmic, sonorous miracles for us.

In his latest collection, Anterooms: New Poems and Translations, he opens with a reverie called, "The House," perhaps the most intimate, beautiful poem therein. Then follow four sections. The first embodies eleven Wilbur poems, including the title poem. Ranging from a consideration of metamorphosis in "The Measuring Worm" to a plum tree on the edge of bursting into bloom in "Soon," these short pieces radiate Wilbur's customary word and meter mastery as well as his finely-edged meanings and delicate infusions of nature. The second part consists of precisely translated poems from the French, the Latin, and the Russian. Among them are "The Tomb of Edgar Poe," and a previously unpublished Verlaine poem, as well as two by Joseph Brodsky. In the third section Wilbur's own verse touches on concerns of one who is aging as "A Reckoning" mulls regrets. And "A Prelude" imagines Matthew Arnold at the cliffs of Dover before he wrote his famous poem. Then Wilbur composes a song (without notes though) for a "musical version of Jean Giraudeaux's La Folle de Chaillot" which might remind one of playful Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics. Finally, the last part of the volume is devoted to translations of "Thirty-Seven Riddles from Symphosius." Each of these sophisticated yet sprightly triplets is headed by a Latin word and these are a big hint. But if one doesn't know (or has forgotten) that ancient language, the English answer key is printed at the end.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Richard Wilbur continues to prove the publication of his Collected Poems in 2004 to be premature. At age 89, he is still the finest formalist poet America has minted since Robert Frost. In the eponymous poem, "Anterooms," Wilbur ruminates over dreams where "All the living and the dead / meet without surprise." I should think that Frost and Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson and any other great poet you'd care to name -- none of them would be surprised to meet Wilbur in the anteroom of an anthology.

I hope he lives forever and continues writing poems as fine as "A Measuring Worm," which in five short stanzas makes from a caterpillar an ominous metaphor for the uncertainty of death. In addition to fine original lyrics, the collection also contains more of his translations of Latin riddles, and of the French poets, and of Joesph Brodsky.

Fans of Wilbur will be disappointed only by the short length of the book; newcomers are recommended to start with Collected Poems 1943-2004 or The Voice of the Poet: Richard Wilbur.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At times, whimsical, serious, and self-reflective, I liked a handful of these poems. The books is quite short, so that's not damning with faint praise, and what I liked I really liked.

It seems as if Mr. Wilbur swept his hand across his desk and whatever he had been working on got into this collection. It's a bit of a jumble, with translations, riddles, and rhymes. There are some real jewels, like these pithy lines:

And I too don't know
Toward what undreamt condition
Inch by inch I go.

(from A Measuring Worm)

Still, it strains belief
How an instant can dilate,
Or long years be brief.

(From Anterooms)

Wilbur is funny, too, as he shows in "Some Words Inside of Words."

This collection meanders from the deeply personal ("A Reckoning") in which he chalks up his sins, to translations from French and Latin, to the last few pages riddled with riddles from Symphosius.

I have no idea if you will like it. I enjoyed the time I spent between its covers. The only reason I gave it three and not four stars was the mental switching necessary to go from one type of work to another in such a small volume (63 pages, 24 of which were blank).
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