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The Poetry of E.A. Robinson (Modern Library) Hardcover – May 11, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 1999 Modern Library ed edition (May 11, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679602623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679602620
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,540,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Modern Library of the World's Best Books:

"Robinson has gone to his place in American literature and left his human place among us vacant. We mourn, but with the qualification that after all, his life was a revel in the felicities of language."--Robert Frost

"He became on certain occasions one of the most remarkable poets in our language. His style at its best is as free from the provincialism of time and of place as the best writing of Jonson and Herbert."--Yvor Winters

From the Inside Flap

Donald Justice called Edwin Arlington Robinson "The first modern American poet." This original collection, edited by Robert Mezey, showcases many of Robinson's underappreciated shorter lyrics, with selections from The Children of the Night; Captain Craig; The Town Down the River; The Man Against the Sky; The Three Taverns; Avon's Harvest, Etc.; and Dionysus in Doubt.
        
Robert Mezey, a Guggenheim and NEA fellow, is poet-in-residence at Pomona College and the author of numerous volumes of verse, including Evening Wind. He provides a stimulating Introduction for this collection, together with extracts of Robinson's ideas about verse and criticism of his work. Robert Frost's Introduction to King Jasper is reproduced in full. Robert Mezey contends that E. A. Robinson is "a national treasure, one of the four or five best poets America has yet produced. . . . [He] wrote about ordinary people, old men who play cards and drink cider, unregenerate skirt chasers, village philosophers and cranks, butchers and millers and country doctors, maiden aunts, solitary drunks who have outlived their cronies--Americans suffering their irremediable woes."

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Customer Reviews

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If the rest of the poems are like this, they will probably depress you deeply.
Mike Bojanowski
Mezey's handsome and wonderfully edited volume is the best introduction available to the work of one of America's greatest and most neglected poets.
Kevin Durkin
Robinson's disturbing works are best exemplified in his poem "Richard Cory".
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Durkin on June 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Edwin Arlington Robinson wrote many of the most memorable and heartbreaking poems of the twentieth century, including such masterpieces as "Richard Cory," "Miniver Cheevy," "Reuben Bright," "Ben Jonson Entertains a Man From Stratford," and "Mr. Flood's Party." A master of the Petrarchan sonnet as well as many other metrical and rhymed forms, Robinson had an ear like no other (note the initials of his name), and possessed a unique insight into the sadness and nobility of his fellow human beings. Other poets may instruct and delight us; Robinson also frequently moves us to tears. Robert Mezey, the editor of this volume, has writtten a superb introductory essay, providing the reader with essential and fascinating details about Robinson's life that enhance one's understanding of the poems while setting Robinson's career and remarkable achievement squarely in the context of his times. More importantly, Mezey has expertly chosen the very best of Robinson's poetry for this volume, and he rounds out the selection with excerpts from Robinson's own letters and other writers' critical appraisals of Robinson's work. Included here is a rather wily introduction to Robinson's KING JASPER by Robert Frost, who owed a great debt in his own poetry to Robinson's richly nuanced plain style. Mezey's handsome and wonderfully edited volume is the best introduction available to the work of one of America's greatest and most neglected poets. END
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Ghitelman on June 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Robinson's poetry has not yet been embalmed by the Library of America, Robert Mezey laments in his excellent introduction, but this small volume preserves the best work of one of our best, if not always fully appreciated, writers. Robinson's poems are generally short, dark, elegantly crafted gems that frequently present the emotion of a dramatic situation without explaining the situation itself: The House on the Hill, Eros Turannos. He has also written a few mid-length narratives (Isaac and Archibald, Aunt Imogen) in a supple blank verse that foreshadows and equals the best of Frost. Along with the poems and introduction, Mezey offers first-rate notes and reprints an essay by Frost about Robinson that deserves the attention of any serious reader of poetry, with its well-argued distinction between grief (Robinson's proper subject) and grievances (the subject of propaganda).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cool Guy on March 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Robinson's poetry is remarkably deceptive. for example, "Richard Cory" displays his unconventional nature with a sudden twist that appears out of nowhere. Don't let Robinson's obscurity deter you from purchasing this book; some of the best poets are not main-stream. Case in point: Walt Whitman is known throughout the universe, yet his poetry never struck a chord with me. Robinson, meanwhile, does exactly the opposite. his elegant style, mastery of the sonnet, and emotional messages are excellent. Poetry is an excellent expression of the soul, and noboby understands this better than E.A.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on October 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
President Theodore Roosevelt brought many national treasures to light. His campaign to preserve the country's natural landmarks is well known. Our debt to Roosevelt is even greater still. If not for the president's interest, Edwin Arlington Robinson would likely have languished in obscurity.
This volume of poetry shows Robinson to be one of America's greatest poets. Robinson is unbelievably talented. He ranks amount the greatest sonneteers the country has ever seen. His longer poems, like "Isaac and Archibald," are stunning.
Visceral emotion and intellectual innovation collide and transform the words of Robinson's poetry into something greater than the sum of its parts. This is great stuff. This is what poetry should be.
I recommend it highly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alison on March 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Though ironic in nature, the poem of "Richard Cory," has an unbelievable message. Themes of "the grass is always greener," royalty, and class, appear in the poem, though they can easily be overlooked. The poem has allusions to royalty, which suggests that others view him in a special light, he is a magnificent individual. Perhaps we all know such a Richard Cory, the man who lives down the street, the man who everyone wants to be, the supposed Gatsby. E. A. Robinson is clearly depicting a charicature of a man who appeals to us all, by making us aware of what it is we do not have. The tragic ending of the poem, symbolizes the devastating reality of life. It is a cruel and endless cycle, that we can not yet escape from. The poem also proves that money, even today, can not buy you happiness, or love, or true friendship. The poem also alludes to the fact that each man can lead a life of quiet desperation. An inventor of sorts, E A Robinson can also be noted to have coined the phrase "he put a bullet through his head." This line has forever since been used to describe the tragic, and untimely deaths of such promising modern figures. The contrast between Richard's outward appearance (his name being an allusion to many a royal member) and his inner anxiety build up to the travesty of the last line. It is sheer brilliance. "Mr. Floods Party," another one of his works, captures the essence of early prohibition years. Mr. Flood, once a respected and revered man, goes up to the hilltop to drink alone. This poem is ironic, because he is alone at his own party. The climbing to the hill is a symbol of his journey toward dispair and eventually death. His first name is Eben, and the word Eb means to go from the better to a worse state.Read more ›
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