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The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems Hardcover – March 23, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1 edition (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061923826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061923821
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Hass's first retrospective allows us to trace the development of the narrative voice he began cultivating most powerfully with 1979's Praise. Who can forget their first reading of Meditation at Lagunitas, in which Hass tells us we call it longing because desire is full/ of endless distances? The new poems show Hass at the height of his narrative powers, as in Some of David's Story, where the dissolution of a loving relationship is told to us in brief anecdotes by David himself. Recent poems from Time and Materials ask direct, bird's-eye view questions: What is to be done with our species? Because/ We know we're going to die, to be submitted to that tingling of atoms once again. Hass's work derives its strength from how it challenges both breath and line. Few are the poems in which Hass doesn't push his breath, and ours, almost to the point of breaking. He tries to get every word he can into each line, every detail he can into each poem, as though, if these feats are possible, then it's also possible to save some part of the world from dissolution. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

Long, laddering lines impel you down the page as Hass contemplates the living and the dead, the human and the wild with yearning and philosophic poise. This lustrous retrospective collection, drawn from five previous books, beginning with Field Guide (1973), opens with a generous selection of new poems redolent of Whitman and the blues. Narrative poems are droll and astringent in their musings over love’s paradoxes and history’s shifting claims, children’s pleasures, poverty, and danger. A National Book Award winner and former poet laureate prized for his insights into human nature and our place in the web of life, Californian Hass distills experiences down to their essence as he limns landscapes, portrays friends and loved ones, and imagines the struggles of strangers. The ordinary is cracked open to reveal metaphysical riddles in poems that feel so natural, their formal complexities nearly elude our detection. Legacies and ruptures, sex and food, the journaling impulse to stop time, the “strangeness of living,” all become catalysts for the tonic perceptions shared by this compassionate master poet who declares, “Joy seized me.” --Donna Seaman

More About the Author

Robert Hass was born in San Francisco in 1941. He attended St. Mary's College and Stanford University. His books of poetry include Time and Materials, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and the National Book Award in 2008; Sun Under Wood, for which he received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1996; Human Wishes; Praise, for which he received the William Carlos Williams Award in 1979; and Field Guide, which was selected by Stanley Kunitz for the Yale Younger Poets Series. Hass also worked with Czeslaw Milosz to translate a dozen volumes of Milosz's poetry, including the book-length Treatise on Poetry and, most recently, A Second Space. His translations of the Japanese haiku masters have been collected in The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa. His books of essays include Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism in 1984, and Now and Then: The Poet's Choice Columns, 1997-2000. From 1995 to 1997 he served as poet laureate of the United States. He lives in northern California with his wife, the poet Brenda Hillman, and teaches English at the University of California at Berkeley.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Doom on November 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Full disclosure, Robert Hass's Praise is one of my favorite books of poetry ever. It may have been the first book of poetry that I thought I understood, and later when I went back and read Field Guide, I was equally as transcended. Since then I have had mixed feeling about Hass's other other books. Of course his Milosz translations are wonderful as are his work with Haiku, but nothing had struck me as much as those to earlier works, that is until now.

The Apple Trees at Olema is beautiful, scientifically precious, and pitch perfect. After reading this book, I went back and perused the rest of Hass. He is excellent. I would suggest you pack this book for a hike or a camping trip or to peak at in between slumbers in a hammock. This is a book that should be read outside. And if you read it inside, your mind will be outside soon enough on a grassy meadow, along the coast, near two apple trees.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Case Quarter VINE VOICE on January 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover
reading hass' new poems you can't help feeling he's in a good place in his life. read further his ease from his laid back life style in the hills near san francisco seems glib. poets out there tend to loosen traditional forms, a place trait hass, at times, carries to an extreme, abandoning form altogether for the prosiest of his prose poems with content lacking interest to any but his friendliest readers. read further and you get the impression he's heard this all before, and, goaded, sails out deliberately in deep waters straight into the storms awing us with his calm, cool mastery of his craft.

hass ' books of poetry progress through his marriage, his mother's alcoholism, his brother's drug addiction, and visits to countries ravaged by wars.

i'm not a fan of all of hass' poetry, but in this collection of his poems selected from several of his book are some of the best poems i've read.

Field Guide, his first book, a prize winner, displays his influences by japanese forms, daily events, the repetitions of nature outside his door, and the early years of marriage.

Human Wishes, reads as written by a man starved for conversation who wants to share his observations with us, by a poet who must go on writing every day even when on the days he has little to say, it is this dedication to his craft that over the long sea voyage gives pathos, depth and terrible beauty to the rare poem such as On Squaw Peak.

from Sun under Wood, the poem, English: An Ode, shows hass' casual mastery of three types of sorrow using a self referential etymology, interrupted by a meditation on divorce.

Breach and Orison, the book Time and Materials, must be read out loud, and if your tongue and mind are too quick, you'll miss the fun in being delighted, like the kid at the magic show was who knew how the magician did all the tricks.
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By Y M Trainer, PhD on September 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hass is a brilliant writer! His work is academic, without being overly so. His eye and voice is original.He brings to life flickers of those poets who have gone before him, and he can even make mundane objects appear interesting.
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By Richard J. Barron on October 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
I really enjoy Robert Hass' poems and understand most of them.
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