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Selected Poems Paperback – Bargain Price, August 8, 1996

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Once he bestrode the American scene like a colossus, but while plenty of his work remains in print, Carl Sandburg (1878^-1967) is no longer much--or well--spoken of these days, especially as a poet. This new selection of his verse by two scholars, George and Willene Hendrick, who tracked down dozens of uncollected or unpublished Sandburg poems, may change that situation. It is superb, not a bum poem in it, even if one or another brings one up short with outdated slang or the use of the forbidden n-word (for the record, few white public figures have been ardenter champions of blacks than Sandburg). The Hendricks present 166 poems in sections reflecting Sandburg's concerns: "Chicago," "Lincoln," "African-Americans," "Love Poems," "Poems of Protest," etc. Sandburg's great inspiration was Whitman; no one else carried more of the tone and panhumanism of Leaves of Grass into the twentieth century than Sandburg. He was less spiritual and more political than Whitman, and his literary roots in urban reporting made for an imagery grittier, grayer, more documentary than Whitman's--an imagery, though, as striking, especially visually, as any that Sandburg's imagist peers--Amy Lowell, Pound, Williams--produced. Great stuff. Ray Olson

Review

Once he bestrode the American scene like a colossus, but while plenty of his work remains in print, Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) is no longer much--or well--spoken of these days, especially as a poet. This new selection of his verse by two scholars, George and Willene Hendrick, who tracked down dozens of uncollected or unpublished Sandburg poems, may change that situation. It is superb, not a bum poem in it, even if one or another brings one up short with outdated slang or the use of the forbidden n-word (for the record, few white public figures have been ardenter champions of blacks than Sandburg). The Hendricks present 166 poems in sections reflecting Sandburg's concerns: "Chicago," "Lincoln," "African-Americans," "Love Poems," "Poems of Protest," etc. Sandburg's great inspiration was Whitman; no one else carried more of the tone and panhumanism of Leaves of Grass into the twentieth century than Sandburg. He was less spiritual and more political than Whitman, and his literary roots in urban reporting made for an imagery grittier, grayer, more documentary than Whitman's--an imagery, though, as striking, especially visually, as any that Sandburg's imagist peers--Amy Lowell, Pound, Williams--produced. Great stuff.
(Booklist - Ray Olson )

James Tate's Selected Poems seems more a career move than a purposeful publication. Tate's but in his 40's, and it's doubtful that his earlier books require or benefit from being culled for a selected edition. Nine of the poet's earlier collections remain inprint and available from university and independent publishers. While Tate's a solid and most productive poet, the necessities of luminous brilliance or the inaccessibility of earlier books that could justify Selected Poems at this time, is lacking. Books of this sort are an ironic mix of bulk and abbreviation, and unless one is genuinely familiar with a writer's work, "selecteds" make for erratic, disharmonious reading. Earlier volumes - and in Tate's case there are a number of good ones - are gleaned by poet or editor with certain poems retained and others omitted. Why such disregard for the books' merits and coherences? Why such disregard for the presumed essentialness of those available books of poetry? Tate's Selected Poems strikes this reviewer as an artistically careless act that renders healthy, intact books into lifeless, shapeless portions. Here, the cleverness and imagistic wit of the poet's surfaces dominate the poignant and lingering depths found in a memorable collection such as Absences, reissued within the last year. if you want to read James Tate in a rewarding manner pick up the Wesleyan, Yale, Ecco or Carnegie Mellon Press collections that are most readily available. (Independent Publisher )
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (August 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156003961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156003964
  • ASIN: B005OL9GTQ
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,994,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com VINE VOICE on July 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
If I were teaching Sandburg, i would use this collection as my text.
The introduction is concise, yet informative, giving some quick context to the life and ideas behind the poems.
Keeping in mind this is a selected works, and not a complete works, think of this as a "best of" edition.
Organized by ideas: * Chicago * Images * Poems of Protest * Love Poems * Lincoln * Anti-War and War Poems * Portraits * African-Americans * Poet of the People * Musings * Poetry Definitions.
By organizing them idealogically, it helps the reader becoming familiar with Sandburg as a primer. You can see his clear cynicism of religion and of religious people, and of his socialistic leanings (he is direct about these thoughts). His "Billy Sunday" is an intriguing look at a man who was just a man, yet spoke about Christ. Though Sandburg was known to be atheistic, it could be argued he had more spiritual thoughts.
You can read his sense of empathy and unity with the common man. Any urban dweller will hum in agreement to so much of his Chicago poems.
Sandburg's sense of rural beauty comes out, as does his pure admiration of Lincoln. Well-said is his recollection of the sinking of the Eastland (a boat which sunk in the Chicago River)... or, rather, his thoughts of how so many people died, and how many might've died.
I could go poem by poem, but the fact remains that Sandburg's style impacts poets today, from the Beats to Maya Angelou, to Gwendolyn Brooks.
I fully recommend this book.
Anthony Trendl
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Henry Deutsch on February 19, 2009
Format: Paperback
A splendid collage of American poetry nurtured by a deep love of the land, it's intricate nature and complex heritage by one who involved his soul into its heritage and history.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
some of Sandburg's best is here; and some is not. please read aloud these two pieces excluded:
¶ ``I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell me what is happiness. And I went to famous executives who boss the work of thousands of men. They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though I was trying to fool with them. And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along the Des Plaines River and I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with their women and children and a keg of beer and an accordion.''
¶ ``Under the Harvest Moon, when shimmering silver bathes garden nights, and fragrances loll...
Death the gray mocker comes whispering of what must come.
Life comes also, softly softly, touching you with myriad memories.
That perplexing pair, Death and Life, ask unanswerable questions.''
¶ so: four, perhaps five stars for Sandburg himself; three for this edition.
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By rochelle wildfong on March 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Carl Sandburg had a pulse on America - not to be forgotten - I encourage the world to revisit this great man's work.
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