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Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry Hardcover – September 4, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dugan's 1961 Poems (that year's Yale Younger Poets winner) turned much of the poetry establishment on its ear: Dugan's irreverent or cynical poems, full of horse sense and completely resistant to gloss, spoke to a community of readers soured on old forms and unattached to new ones. A celebration of spring showed how "the skunk cabbage generates its/ frost-thawing fart-gas in New Jersey and the first/ crocuses appear..." Other poems attacked America's growing involvement in Vietnam, and still others treated sex in memorably, newly flippant ways: "In spring when the ego arose from the genitals/ after a winter's refrigeration, the sergeants/ were angry..." Subsequent books (Poems Two, Poems Three and so on) continued Dugan's project of comic, bleak and formally varied commentary on a dirty, terminally frayed and yet attractive America. Yet Dugan remained aloof from the academy; as a result, his profile gradually dimmed, though he retained an enthused (and amused) core of fans, among them ex-Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. This carefully constructed, funny and sometimes unvarying volume combines all six of Dugan's previous books with a decade's worth of new verse. One of the best of the new poems finds a domestic urgency: "Don't walk barefoot in the bathroom," it advises; "There was someone in the mirror who I killed." "You'll find in my Collected Poems," another new poem explains, "the palliative answer/ to your stupid questions": many readers just might, and the book's nomination as a National Book Award finalist should bring more of them to it.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Buy this book. Not because Dugan has won the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, Prix de Rome, and Yale Younger Poets awards but because he brings an intriguing and idiosyncratic vision to American poetry. This collection includes 35 new poems as well as the best poems from six earlier collections. Dugan examines a cornucopia of topics, but each poem probes one of life's truths. What you remember most after reading Dugan's poems is his sense of play, as evidenced by a few of the titles: "The Esthetics of Circumcision," "On the Supposed Immortality of Orchids," "Gargoyle's Song for a Warming Trend," and "Funeral Oration for a Mouse." Sometimes you're not sure what's happening in a Dugan poem "Marry. Sweets, tarts and sweets,/ come among soots and sherds. The dairy of the breasts" but that sense of mystery and adventure propels you forward. Indeed, Dugan is best when he weds the quotidian with a sense of life's mysteries: "Then the cat began to eat the mouse head first/ instead of going for the easier belly or asshole./ I had always wanted to see the relation/ of blood and roses restated in some novel way,/ without the biological unconsciousness of thorns." Some of the Sixties poems feel dated, but many of these pieces are still fresh. Recommended for all collections. Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; 1 edition (September 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583222650
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583222652
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,530,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Varn on June 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
There are very poems that seem more direct and laconic in English, although Nicanor Parra's antipoetry in Spanish is unique close. A retrospective of all of Dugan's career, whose poems still resonate with me since I read them in my late teens in the 1990s even though they were written in the 1960s. While contemporary to Charles Bukowski and Frederick Seidel, Dugan has a subtler art than Bukowski's and a more naunced meanness than Seidel. Often bitter and hyper-rational, there is a subtle beauty that can be seen in poems like "Love Song: I and Thou" whose twists better near nihilism and love can be dizzying. Dugan's irony is classical, not the flippancy of a lot of hipper, younger verse. To be savored, slowly and carefully, even in some of the unevenness of Dugan's later work.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By F. Roberts on September 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read Alan Dugan in 1962. I have all six, now seven, volumes of his poetry. I taught his poems to my students of all ages for 30 years. His words make him one of my oldest, most trusted friends. Too bad I didn't teach enough children to feel the irony in "On an East Wind from the Wars" or "How We Heard the Name." Now we "ba-bas" are really in for it. Read Dugan if you haven't. Start with volume 1.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Stanley Rogers on December 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Alan Dugan, first published in the early sixties, has always been a rebel. His work is easily recognized, dense and irreverant. He has maintained a style throughout the years that is unmistakable. If you want to produce modern poetry, do yourself a favor and read Alan Dugan.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Lake on July 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book of poetry is amazing. It is modern, ironic, hyperrational, and mostly free verse. It doesn't stint on the intellect, but doesn't come off as arrogant. It is everything I love in postmodern American poetry. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it both aloud and to myself. Alan Dugan will be remembered.
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