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Traveling Light: Poems Hardcover – January 31, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Linda Pastan has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award, and in 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Prize for lifetime achievement. She lives in Potomac, Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 77 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (January 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393079074
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393079074
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on July 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
If every garden dreams of being Eden, heaven on earth, perhaps every poem, every idyll, dreams of capturing some perfection of melded experience, emotion, and illusive truth. The Old Testament is thematically mined herein a few times: Eve is recurring fodder for "story." And Noah's ark salvation is counter pointed against the devastation of virtually all mankind of his time drowning in the deluge.

TRAVELING LIGHT presents verses about nature's blooms and creatures, the passage of time both objective and subjective, loved ones not beside us, and a confluence of ordinary and literary things. Poking fun at her own habitual pre-punctuality, Linda Pastan also ribs a poetry event questioner who haplessly asked, " 'Did you write / your Emily Dickinson poem because you like her work, / or because you know her personally' " but ends up kinder to the other person than to herself. She writes ten poignant lines about September 11 and how it was first an "anniversary / of love" before before "history's dirty thumbprint stain[ed] the calendar." A ghost, lilacs, cows, acorns, Bob Dylan, and time travel all receive the unique attentions of Pastan. So do silence, forests, and Times Square in 1944.

This collection presents commonplace tangibles as signposts to more ephemeral insights. Many poets do the same in their works, but can come across as studied and pretentious. Pastan seems at ease with her craft, as though the poems flow like a bubbling stream. Three stanzas about bread, for instance, fill the reader with a sense of its "perfect tenderness" and agreement that "bread is / the universal language, translatable / on the famished tongue." One cannot be famished after ingesting Pastan's poetic nourishment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ellen Rubin on February 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again, Linda Pastan has given her readers much to ponder and enjoy. The universal appeal of her poetry makes us clamor for more.
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By Steven Osterman on October 31, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
She has a gift
And it is wrapped with insight
Yet as you unwrap each of her poems
You never quite know what to expect
Except the magic of her words
That reveal themselves under the careful
And loving hand of a gardener
Using her trowel to clear the way
For the seeds that will blossom
While having the impact
Of a back-hoe tractor
In opening up new ground.
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