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Gulf Music: Poems Hardcover – October 16, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0374167493 ISBN-10: 0374167494 Edition: 1ST

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1ST edition (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374167494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374167493
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The gulf in the title of Pinsky's seventh collection is both the large southern body of water that has been the site of so much weather-related misery, and the unavoidable distances between an author's thoughts and feelings and his expression. Poems from the first section frequently butt up against subjects too large for speech, and break down into music and mystery. The title poem begins with a devastating hurricane in Galveston in 1900 and reaches after fragments and song to recall what was lost: O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah wallah-woe. Another poem describes the ecstasy of forgetting, in which an enraptured audience at once hears and doesn't hear what it's being told. Pinsky (Jersey Rain) describes solid things in the second section, though he can't help noting that thing itself first meant to confer or address. Of a camera, he writes, The flash of your hammer/ Fashions the shelter. Signs of Pinsky's craftsmanship abound. Perhaps most laudable is that Pinsky—a former Poet Laureate and one of America's best-known poets—is not above self-criticism: in writing about peace, his last thought compares his own mind to a monkey who fires his shit in handfuls from the cage. (Oct.)
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About the Author

Robert Pinsky was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000. Creator and director of the Favorite Poem Project and poetry editor at Slate, he also teaches in the graduate writing program at Boston University.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Martin H. Dickinson on August 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
Robert Pinsky is well known to many, having been Poet Laureate, written a book review column, appeared on the Newshour, and led the Favorite Poem Project. But how many read his poetry? In Gulf Music, Pinsky shows us what a strong poet he truly is, with a great range and all kinds of strategies for making a poem interest and delight his reader and listening audience. Truth in advertising: I have myself been a participant in Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project, one of the really great services done for poetry in our daily life that I can think of.

But look at these poems, read them out loud and listen to their melody. You can take the political poems. They do put events of our lives in perspective, and they do it well. But look at First Things to Hand--a series of poems about ordinary objects that prove anything but ordinary--a glass, a book, a jar of pens, a door--really proving what poetry and Pinsky can do. By far my favorite, found among the few translations at the end of Gulf Music (more truth in advertising: I love Latin poetry and even wrote a poem about the Latin language) is The Wave, Pinsky's translation of Virgil, Georgics III:237-244:

A breast-shaped curve of wave begins to whiten
And rise above the surface, the rolling on
Gathers and gathers until it reaches land
Huge as a mountain and crashes among the rocks

Was Virgil a contemporary poet? This is a really deft treatment and brings this little gem from the Georgics (translations of which are usually plodding and dull) up to date. This is NOT the stuff of Latin class, but something we can understand and relate to emotionally.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. L. Smith on March 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pinsky is an amazing poet and this is a strong collection. Some of the poems were published in a chap book recently which I had already purchased awhile back. Still, the rest of the poems were so enjoyable I had to pick this up, too. If you like contemporary poetry (yeah, what does that mean?), especially with a political flavor, this may be just what you are looking for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Porges on April 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Pinsky has one of the great poetic voices, and if you read his earlier work, like _Sadness and Happiness_, the pleasure of that voice is immediate, and lasting. This book isn't in that voice, though; it's like a long vertical stack of other voices, discovered meanings, sounds that refused to settle in or lose their strangeness. It's beautiful, and unexpected.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lynn E. Oliva on April 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had never seen what a chapbook was until I had one in hand. Gulf Music: Poems was in that format and it was interesting. I had read about chapbooks before, but I did like it. Try one and I think you will like the format.
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