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The Color Wheel (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction) Paperback – October 10, 1994

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In his third collection, Steele ( Uncertainties and Rest) sounds a tone that is pleasantly reminiscent of the 18th-century: rational, clear and balanced. The tone accommodates a broad range of thought, play and form. Steele's natural sound here, effortlessly elaborated, is that of a hushed lyric with energy to spare. His decorum is flexibly contemporary, absorbing easily the jauntiness of Los Angeles in "Fae," and the regrets of a retired prizefighter in "Cory in April." Technically, Steele is superbly commanding, offering witty and subtle rhymes that lilt just slightly at the end of carefully metrical lines ("wind"/ "capuchinned"; "Merciful"/ "swell"; "his"/ "lettuces"). His technical esprit, in fact, is so impressive that one may be tempted to read the poems as abstracted formal expressions. But to do so would mean missing Steele's thematic range, from satirizing urge to wistfulness and a more profound consciousness of pain. He is also a deft portraitist (of women; of sea lions). The "moderating squeeze" of his aesthetic is both prudent and liberating.

(Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

Through his widely praised collections of poems Timothy Steele has earned the reputation as one the most highly regarded poets born since World War II who continue to work in meter. Now Steele brings together thirty-five new poems that extend the scope and deepen the spirit of his previous work.
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Product Details

  • Series: Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (October 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801849527
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801849527
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Extending the range and depth of his two previous collections of poetry (available from the University of Arkansas Press as a single volume, SAPPHICS AND UNCERTAINTIES), THE COLOR WHEEL confidently establishes Steele not only as the premiere metrical poet of his generation, but also as one of the very best poets writing in English today.
THE COLOR WHEEL takes its title from one of the volume's central poems, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Child," a witty and wise meditation that begins with a description of a small child coloring with crayons and segues smoothly into the poet's memory of first seeing a color wheel, a spectrum of choices not only for the budding artist, but also, on a metaphorical level, for the poet and reader. The poem ends with one of the most beautiful passages I've seen in recent poetry: "You're off and traveling through the wheel/Of contrasts and of complements,/Where every shade divides and blends,/Where you find those that you prefer,/Where being is not linear,/But bright and deep, and never ends."
This enticing invitation to choose freely from the world's variety extends to Steele's entire collection, which ranges from a mock-Stevensian anecdote about a sugar bowl to a sobering recollection of doomed Holsteins in "Georgics." The Horatian alcaics of "Luck," in which the poet confronts the good fortunes of others, complements the mildly brooding blank verse of "Pacific Rim," in which the poet hints at the luckless victims of 20th century brutality. Yet the tenor of the collection is decidedly hopeful, and perhaps no title (or poem) in the book better exemplifies this than the charming "Beatitudes, While Setting Out the Trash.
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Extending the range and depth of his two previous collections of poetry (available from the University of Arkansas Press as a single volume, SAPPHICS AND UNCERTAINTIES), THE COLOR WHEEL confidently establishes Steele not only as the premiere metrical poet of his generation, but also as one of the very best poets writing in English today.
THE COLOR WHEEL takes its title from one of the volume's central poems, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Child," a witty and wise meditation that begins with a description of a small child coloring with crayons and segues smoothly into the poet's memory of first seeing a color wheel, a spectrum of choices not only for the budding artist, but also, on a metaphorical level, for the poet and reader. The poem ends with one of the most beautiful passages I've seen in recent poetry: "You're off and traveling through the wheel/Of contrasts and of complements,/Where every shade divides and blends,/Where you find those that you prefer,/Where being is not linear,/But bright and deep, and never ends."
This enticing invitation to choose freely from the world's variety extends to Steele's entire collection, which ranges from a mock-Stevensian anecdote about a sugar bowl to a sobering recollection of doomed Holsteins in "Georgics." The Horatian alcaics of "Luck," in which the poet confronts the good fortunes of others, complements the mildly brooding blank verse of "Pacific Rim," in which the poet hints at the luckless victims of 20th century brutality. Yet the tenor of the collection is decidedly hopeful, and perhaps no title (or poem) in the book better exemplifies this than the charming "Beatitudes, While Setting Out the Trash.
Read more ›
Comment 6 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Extending the range and depth of his two previous collections of poetry (available from the University of Arkansas Press as a single volume, SAPPHICS AND UNCERTAINTIES), THE COLOR WHEEL confidently establishes Steele not only as the premiere metrical poet of his generation, but also as one of the very best poets writing in English today.
THE COLOR WHEEL takes its title from one of the volume's central poems, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Child," a witty and wise meditation that begins with a description of a small child coloring with crayons and segues smoothly into the poet's memory of first seeing a color wheel, a spectrum of choices not only for the budding artist, but also, on a metaphorical level, for the poet and reader. The poem ends with one of the most beautiful passages I've seen in recent poetry: "You're off and traveling through the wheel/Of contrasts and of complements,/Where every shade divides and blends,/Where you find those that you prefer,/Where being is not linear,/But bright and deep, and never ends."
This enticing invitation to choose freely from the world's variety extends to Steele's entire collection, which ranges from a mock-Stevensian anecdote about a sugar bowl to a sobering recollection of doomed Holsteins in "Georgics." The Horatian alcaics of "Luck," in which the poet confronts the good fortunes of others, complements the mildly brooding blank verse of "Pacific Rim," in which the poet hints at the luckless victims of 20th century brutality. Yet the tenor of the collection is decidedly hopeful, and perhaps no title (or poem) in the book better exemplifies this than the charming "Beatitudes, While Setting Out the Trash.
Read more ›
Comment 1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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The Color Wheel (Johns Hopkins: Poetry and Fiction)
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