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Collected Poems: 1953-1993 Paperback – July 4, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; Reprint edition (July 4, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679762043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679762041
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #729,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection gathers more than 300 of Updike's poems, some written in his youth and others very recently. Admirers of his fiction know that verbal precision, edged with wit, is one of Updike's hallmarks, and readers will fall upon his light verse with delighted recognition of its sheer cleverness. As a versifier, Updike knows full well how to use tools for the purposes of play, but he doesn't (usually) overindulge; even in the case of "occasional" poems, he polishes and polishes a passing subject with a certain modesty, until it shimmers: "White Dwarf," written to mark the discovery of "the smallest known star," salutes "A little pill in endless night, / An antidote to cosmic fright." The trouble, though, begins with his sober poetry. For some reason, when he works in this vein, Updike's ear tends to falter, his judgment often errs and the poetry wanders into dangerously trivial territory. This is puzzling, since Updike's sense of rhythm in prose is exceptional, and his perceptions are bound so intimately with those rhythms. Not so here, unfortunately.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

If this collection is any indication, Updike is as prolific a poet as he is a novelist and critic. Nothing--airplane travel, a bug in the sink, a darning egg, a pair of eyeglasses--is too mundane a subject for the many sonnets, odes, and other traditional verse forms that seem to flow effortlessly from his pen. Many of the poems read like limbering-up exercises for the intricately wrought prose of his novels. The greatest weakness here (as in the fiction) is the preciosity and coyness of style, which, thankfully, is relieved by an unerring eye and self-deprecating wit: a pillow is "a bowl of dreams," light switches are "nipples on the walls' flat chests," and July evokes "deep pools of shade beneath dense maples/ the dapples as delicious as lemon drops--/ textures of childhood, and its many flavors!" Perhaps a slender selected poems would have better shown off Updike's gift for light verse than this exhaustive, bricklike volume. Recommended for comprehensive collections of American literature or poetry.
- Christine Stenstrom, Shea & Gould Law Lib., New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 lived in Massachusetts. He was the father of four children and the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, essays, and criticism. His novels won the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal. A previous collection of essays, Hugging the Shore, received the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. John Updike died on January 27, 2009, at the age of 76.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I really love the variety in this collection. He writes about science, travel, nature, and much much more. Each poem is quite different from the others. This variation makes each poem unique and very interesting.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mdbrake@postnet.com on April 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
John Updike has accomplished a great deal in his career, but his poetry cuts to the heart of his obessions/teachings/observations on life. What a wonderful collection to behold. He makes one appreciate how poetry can once again speak to the heart as well as the mind. I highly recommend this excellent collection for poetry lovers and non-poetry lovers alike.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SUBIR GHOSH on March 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
A poem is a poem is a poem, right? Wrong. At least to me poetry is something that comes from within, something that's born perfect, something that doesn't need the craftsman. I know I'll draw a lot of criticism from the school of thought that swears by crafted poetry, but no, that's not my cuppa.
John Updike has always passed this touchstone test of mine, more so in this collection. True, not all pieces in this volume are spontaneous, but thanks to his respect for poetry, he has segregated his poems from his "light verse." In his own words, "In making this collection, I wanted to distinguish my poems from my light verse. My principle of segregation has been that a poem derives from the real (the given, the substantial) world and light verse from the man-made world of information - books, newspapers, words, signs. If a set of lines brought back something to me something I actually saw or felt, it was not light verse. If it took its spark from language and stylized signifiers, it was."
The fact that Updike understands the thick line between poetry and prose in verse, doesn't make his poems and verses any less interesting. In fact, it adds to their character.
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By Frank H. Dietz on June 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
He's a unique writer and good poet-----much to my surprise. His mater of factness is plainspoken and authentic in every way.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By studio one on May 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you in fact read any of this, the worst of it is, I never received the book. I have been in touch with Daily Deals, an Amazon Seller, but this was no deal. I am uncertain we can blame USPS as bad as they can sometimes be. Daily Deals is refunding my money back to MasterCard, but only after I wrote that I intended to contact Amazon. I don't think they ever sent the book or intended to. We will never know.
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