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The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden Hardcover – May 17, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (May 17, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061413
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kunitz, who will turn 100 years old in July, has twice been named Poet Laureate of the U.S. He is not only a distinguished and luminous lyric poet but also an ardent gardener. As he reflects on his callings in this lovely mix of prose, poetry, conversation, and photographs, he illuminates the many ways each practice nurtures the other. Kunitz traces his rapport with nature to his boyhood, when he found refuge from family tragedy in woods and fields. In describing his seaside Provincetown garden, he contemplates the garden as "the cosmos in miniature" and a "compressed parable of the human experience." He observes that both gardening and writing poetry depend on the "wild permissiveness of the inner life." In the aftermath of a serious illness and an amazing recovery, Kunitz talks radiantly about death and art, and how an artist's work expresses "gratitude for the gift of life." In all, this is a graceful and moving glimpse into a rare and giving artist's refined poetics, garden aesthetics, and spirituality. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

A miracle. -- Galway Kinnell

Kunitz has gotten better as he has grown older: more emotionally present, more vulnerable, more alive. How is it possible? -- Mark Doty

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Thanks to my dear friend who recommended this wonderful book.
Patricia Kramer
The photography is as touching and mystical as the poetry itself which is elegant and profound in it's beautiful straightforward simplicity.
ellen elphand
Dinitia Smith interviewed Stanley Kunitz and Genine Lentine about this book.
Shalom Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Dinitia Smith interviewed Stanley Kunitz and Genine Lentine about this book. Her article appears in the NY Times Book- Review. In this article Kunitz speaks about the making of the book, about poetry, about gardening. The most moving part of the interview was a poem which he read to Smith, a poem written for his wife who died two years ago at the age of ninety- three.

He read the poem to Smith, and she comments in the middle.

Summer is late, my heart.

Words plucked out of the air

some forty years ago

when I was wild with love.

He came to the poem's haunting conclusion:

Darling, do you remember

the man you married? Touch me,

remind me who I am.

I was moved by the poem.

It is also moving to think of someone reaching one - hundred years of age, and still writing poetry.

Kunitz says that he understands the necessity of death as the world would become just ' old wrecks' were everyone to go on without end.

He speaks as Borges does of wanting to become 'language' or ' part of the language'.

Aside from the poetry I believe many people will want to possess this book simply because it in some way represents a triumph of the human spirit and will.

"We who are so young, have neither seen so much, nor lived so long."
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Juan Mobili on October 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stanley Kunitz is one hundred years old this year and, if that it's not enough reason to rejoice, he's also published a book, thoughtfuy aided by Genine Lentine, in which he shares his two loves, gardening and writing poetry. And if I name these two passions of Kunitz's in such order is because the garden is at the center of his thought here.

Accompanied by interesting photographs -some are remarkable portraits of Stanley- Kunitz words tell the story of his legendary Provincetown garden, and in the process he offers those lessons to his poetic insight.

The result is a brief book of love for craft, in this case what caring after trees teaches you and what writing a poem entails and demands from his maker.

I'm honored and elated to be reading some new words from such wise elder of the poetic word.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By J. Torrentz on July 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was back "home" with my folks this weekend and my dad really has been enjoying this book (shipped to him for Father's Day)as well. Mr. Kunitz reflections on his amazing life experience are outstanding. I fell in love with the book as well. Definitely give it 5 stars. Enjoy :)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Kramer on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are so many aspects of this wonderful book to comment on. The photos of Stanley in his garden celebrate the beauty of his garden and of living life to the fullest in old age. My favorite is a picture of Stanley's gnarled hands behind his back with dirt on the tips of his fingers.

I am new to Kunitz's poetry so the poems sprinkled throughout the book were wonderful to read. More than the poems though, I was fascinated by his thoughts about the process of writing poetry and what constitutes a meaningful poem.

"Almost anything you do in the garden, for example weeding, is an effort to create some sort of order out of nature's tendency to run wild. There has to be a certain degree of domestication in a garden. The danger is that you can so tame your garden that it becomes a THING. It bcomes landscaping.

In a poem, the danger is obvious; there is natural idiom and then there is domesticated language. The difference is apparent immediately when you sense everything has been subjugated, that the poet has tamed the language and the thought process that flows into a poem until it maintains a principle of order but nothing remains to give the poem its tang, its liberty, its force. Once the poem starts flowing, the poet must not try to dictate every syllable."

Thanks to my dear friend who recommended this wonderful book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Severine on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best commentaries on the poetic life I know. And, it is an inspired guide book for "how" to become an elder and "how" to perform in so-called old age. Poetry awaits those who greet aging and death with Stanley Kunitz's health and wisdom.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Hays on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stanley Kunitz's slim volume, written shortly before his death at age 100 last May, is destined to become a treasured volume for writers, gardeners, nature-lovers and anyone who seeks to live fully. The poems and photos woven throughout are as gorgeous as the text, which contains inspirational (I hesitate to use this overused word in relation to such an extraordinary context) and instructional lessons on living to the fullest, even as life winds down like the garden in winter. Kunitz is a quiet hero for embracing life in all its complexity and wildness, and this book is one to return to over and over for pleasure, comfort and discovery.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By SUSAN NORTON on September 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I WAS SO ENTRANCED BY THE POETRY AND REVERIES IN A GARDEN BY THE ONE AND ONLY STANLEY KUNITZ. THIS BOOK IS NOT ONLY FOR LOVERS OF POETRY BUT ALSO FOR LOVERS OF TRANQUILITY AND BEAUTY. I URGE YOU TO STEP INTO THIS NATURAL WORLD OF DAYDREAMS PUNCTUATED BY FLOWERS.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Maralee Gerke on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book by Stanley Kunitz and his collaborator is a powerful testament to the power of the garden. In short antedotes and blazing poetry this book kept me riveted. In a quiet voice it proclaims the life of one man and his love of gardening.
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