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Lucky Life Paperback – May 1, 1978

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Paperback, May 1, 1978
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This Lamont Prize-winning book offers all the joy, sadness, humor, beauty, and song that typically characterizes the work of the well-respected but unfortunately lesser-known American poet Gerald Stern. Stern, who has been writing since the 1960s, made a name for himself in 1977 with the publication of Lucky Life, now his most renowned collection.

In Lucky Life Stern takes the reader on a journey, pausing everywhere from the streets of New York to post-Holocaust Germany to the soil of a lobelia plant. In an intimate and mature voice, he shares with us the lineage of his ancestors; his personal relationships; and bits of art, music, history--even the neighbors he chats with on the beach. His style is Whitmanesque, urging us to "listen a little for the spongy world" after it has rained, and reminding us how to "understand the power of maples."

Reading Stern's poetry is like listening to the words of a loving grandparent who has been through his or her share of painful experiences but has come to terms with them through wisdom gained from a long life. Stern offers several reasons for surviving in this often senseless world, but one of the most outstanding is found in the title poem: "Lucky you can be purified over and over again. / Lucky there is the same cleanliness for everyone." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

"For two decades, no one has equaled [Stern's] compassionate, surreal parables" (Odd Mercy, LJ 11/15/96).
- compassionate, surreal parables" (Odd Mercy, LJ 11/15/96).
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (May 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039525809X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395258095
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,549,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have always been impressed with poets who are not only good and prolific at what they do, but also attempt a greater project--an idea of more significant proportions than can be encompassed in a single poem, or even in a small group of poems; one that perhaps requires and entire volume of poetry to fulfill, and a lifetime of writing to reach and understand. Many poets have strived beyond the limits of simple poetry--beyond the possibilities of a single poem, or even a body of poems--to create a poetry that is fundamentally important; that is more deeply searching and interrogating than is asked, or even expected, of a fine or prodigious poet. Such poets have a project, whether discreet and subtle, or thunderingly apparent. In the twentieth century, we may look at Ezra Pound's "Cantos" as an example, or John Berryman's "Dream Songs" an another, and perhaps more ambitiously, Charles Olson's "Maximus Poems", as examples.
With his first major publication, "Lucky Life", Gerald Stern was beginning on a course of intense exploration, and interrogation, of the Self caste into the world. Perhaps it is Gerald Stern's project to create a poetry with a new language of feeling and thinking, and which gives new meaning to the language we already possess. His poems, while filled with a language of grief and sadness, also point to the inevitable possibility of joy and hope within human experience. In one line, Stern's poetry permits the expression of both total loss and complete redemption, almost simultaneously. His poetry is complex, but direct, never confusing the issues at stake in the poem. The personae he uses in his poems are not of key issue--nor is the Self of the poet--but rather, the larger issues which they point to.
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By A Customer on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have always been impressed with poets who are not only good and prolific at what they do, but also attempt a greater project--an idea of more significant proportions than can be encompassed in a single poem, or even in a small group of poems; one that perhaps requires and entire volume of poetry to fulfill, and a lifetime of writing to reach and understand. Many poets have strived beyond the limits of simple poetry--beyond the possibilities of a single poem, or even a body of poems--to create a poetry that is fundamentally important; that is more deeply searching and interrogating than is asked, or even expected, of a fine or prodigious poet. Such poets have a project, whether discreet and subtle, or thunderingly apparent. In the twentieth century, we may look at Ezra Pound's "Cantos" as an example, or John Berryman's "Dream Songs" an another, and perhaps more ambitiously, Charles Olson's "Maximus Poems", as examples.
With his first major publication, "Lucky Life", Gerald Stern was beginning on a course of intense exploration, and interrogation, of the Self caste into the world. Perhaps it is Gerald Stern's project to create a poetry with a new language of feeling and thinking, and which gives new meaning to the language we already possess. His poems, while filled with a language of grief and sadness, also point to the inevitable possibility of joy and hope within human experience. In one line, Stern's poetry permits the expression of both total loss and complete redemption, almost simultaneously. His poetry is complex, but direct, never confusing the issues at stake in the poem. The personae he uses in his poems are not of key issue--nor is the Self of the poet--but rather, the larger issues which they point to.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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