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Monolithos Poems, 1962 and 1982 Paperback – March, 1984


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 93 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Pr (March 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915308428
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915308422
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rogue Literary Society on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jack Gilbert was living in Greece, writing poems, and corresponding with Gordon Lish for almost twenty years. Lish had previously published a "Celebration of Jack Gilbert" in his magazine Genesis West in 1962 shortly after Gilbert's famous Yale Younger Poets book Views of Jeopardy hit the stands. Gilbert had worked as poetry editor for Genesis West until Lish had to let him go because he wasn't being nice to the other poets submitting poems for publication. Gilbert soon escaped to Greece. During their correspondences, and without Gilbert's permission, Lish began publishing a few of his poems here and there, and before you know it, Lish had a new book to publish with Knopf in 1982 called Monolithos. Lish borrowed from Views of Jeopardy to reintroduce Gilbert to the public and construct the opening segment of the book, and then followed with the brilliance of the Greek island poems called Monolithos. This book, in my opinion, makes for the very best poems America has to offer. Although Wallace Stevens and Emily Dickinson have given us many great poems to enjoy, Gilbert beat many of them with his very best from Views of Jeopardy, which are found in this book. Poems like "The Abnormal Is Not Courage", "Perspective He Would Mutter Going To Bed", and "Don Giovanni On His Way To Hell II" will live forever, or at least, as long as there is humanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. Winchester on December 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had the privilege of taking a class with Jack Gilbert in Spring of '04, and I can honestly say that this book is a better representation of his professed views than the newest book, _Refusing Heaven_. He talks about poetry like someone who is continuously falling in love with it for the first time, and this book conveys that more than any of his other ones. There is something more charming and interesting about the fresh look this book represents that makes it more accessible than later works. For fans of his later poems, this book provides a wonderful insight into Jack's beginnings, and it allows you to complete the arch of his journey as a poet. Not that many of us have access to his first book, _Views of Jeopardy_, but this book takes that work to the next level, cutting out the amateurish wordplay poems in _Views_ and leaving the real meat behind. Jack knew what he was doing with this book: it is passionate, concise, insightful, and gorgeous. If you can manage to get your hands on a copy of this book, HOLD ON TIGHT!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sallee Reynolds on December 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most beautiful books of modern poetry out there. I am so sad that it's out of print. The poems, which span a period of time in which Jack Gilbert got a divorce and moved to Greece, are extreemly emotional and expertly crafted.
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By Eric Maroney on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
Monolithos is a moving and enigmatic series of poems. Divided into two parts, the first largely written in the 60s, and the second, far larger part, written in the intervening years; the two sets of poems contrast each other. The second part appears to be a long mediation on the failed aspects of the poet's life, including his marriage. There is an ever narrowing quality to the themes, as the expectancies of the narrative voice grow less secure as time passes. The scenes change from place to place: Denmark, Northern California, Japan, Greece, as if the voice of the poet has been set lose upon the world, to scavenge its themes here, there, everywhere. The collection ends at a beginning of sorts, with the poem "Threshing The Fire," where the poet is back in the Pittsburg of his youth walking "the mean streets of Pittsburg/ knowing their leafy summer. Let him make sure the dreams are loose before the fire gets it all/ And I am hammered into the sun."
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