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Nature: Poems Old and New Paperback – April 19, 2000


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Nature: Poems Old and New + May Swenson: Collected Poems: (Library of America #239)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; First Edition edition (April 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618064087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618064083
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Swenson (1913-1989) hasn't received the recognition her writing merits. In this new compendium of her work, she observes nature, and her generous technical resources transform it, inviting us to see it again, as well as to appreciate the unpredictable act of perception. The poet glimpses and ponders planets, oceans, storms, "trees embracing," "October textures," and their kin; the "vegetable oath" of a plant and "the lit hut" of a star. To borrow from one of her titles, Swenson wants to "look closer," whether at the "stuffed pink stocking" of a flamingo or the exposed interstices between observed and observer. But what comes of the closer look is far more than description. Though fashioned to evoke things seen, the poems are so cannily constructed that their world becomes independent, a new thing for us to watch with wonder. The poetry thinks, feels, examines; it's patiently, meticulously sensuous, and adventurously varied in form, much as nature is. Frost, Dickinson, Bishop and Hopkins appear to have been Swenson's companions or progenitors. Now she's ours. The collection includes nine previously unpublished poems, 20 previously uncollected poems, and work drawn from earlier volumes.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

When the world loses a major writer, there is a profound sense of finality; there will be nothing new of this creative energy to discover. But not in Swenson's case. The incredibly prolific Swenson, winner of the Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and Ford fellowships and many other literary honors, died in 1989 at the age of 76. Now, five years later, we have a new collection of her poetry that brings together poems from several earlier books, as well as poems published only in magazines, and introduces us to nine splendid poems published here for the first time. This collection, with a thoughtful foreword by Susan Mitchell, is brought together with special attention to poems describing the environment; poems of tides and the sea, of birds and gardens, of moods and seasons, of self and others. These are poems of keen observation; Swenson is an intensely present poet, fully in the moment. Writing of falling snow in one of the newly published poems, Swenson is immediate, gentle, lyrical: "There sprouts a mat/of white grass. Tips of pickets on the fence/get mittens." This is a collection to be treasured; it belongs in all libraries with even a modest selection of poetry.
Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
My introduction to May Swenson came when I recently met the person to whom all of her work has been bequeathed. I found May Swenson's work to be very accessible, which is not the "vogue" in poetry at the moment. Anyone can understand and be touched. Her childlike humor mixed with her sometimes profound subject matter makes this book a treasure trove of sweet, funny, heart-wrenching, fascinating poems that you'll want to flip in and out of over and over again. It has made me interested in the rest of her work and life.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
May Swenson weaves surprising humor, vivid detail, and startling imagery into her poetry. It's always alive with fresh ways of describing the familiar, and held together by a subtle but strong philosophical thread. She has the knack of writing immediately accessible poetry that's never watered down, never less than rigorous & precise -- yet she never lets the reader see the intricate structure behind the brilliance of the image. There's always the sense of a fiercely intelligent spirit at play in her work.

The poetry gathered here is about Nature ... but we're not talking about a vague, bland, greeting card version of Nature. This is the world both harsh & beautiful, bleak & transcendant, often astonishingly erotic & intimate. Reading her poetry is like drinking a particularly rich & sparkling wine, tinged with rare spices. And in reading, all your senses will be dizzy & dazzled before you know it. Most highly recommended!
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By Karen on September 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was first introduced to May Swenson 17 years ago and have had a book of her love poems in my life ever since. I pull it out regularly. One of the poems was read by a friend at my wedding. I am sad that she is not more widely known. She reminds me of some of the old Sufi poets in her subtlety and metaphor. I highly recommend checking her out.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kevin R. on May 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am not a poetry guy; I really like horror fiction by Stephen King and Clive Barker.

However, my 20 year old daughter loved it the first time through and still sometimes pulls it out to reread some of her favorites; sorry I'm a bad father as I don't recall which ones.
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