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Collected Poems 1939-1989 Hardcover – October, 1990

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Smith's poems throb with compassion for the dead and the living, for the lonely and the failed, "the alcoholic, the addict, and the freak / the actor who makes it for one week." The translator/critic/poet displays a versatile range, from light verse ("The Typewriter Bird") to chiseled lyrics to free-verse experiments with long, Whitmanesque lines. His keenly intelligent poetry speaks of inner transformations, of a quest for the self, of the artificial patterns we impose on life's formlessness. Smith, who started as a 1940s war poet ("Because I believe in the community of little children"), seems more comfortable pondering life's vicissitudes, its unexpected moments of grace and illumination.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This is a satisfying retrospective of a major American poet. A former Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, Smith has had a lifelong love affair with the lyric. Unabashedly musical, he grounds the reader in memorable detail: a willow in winter is "a frozen harp," a tulip "a slender goblet wreathed in flame." Smith's formal, witty style lends itself to the all-but-forgotten arts of light and occasional verse. But the themes of love and mortality are ever-present and reach fruition in the moving later poems. A love poem, "Venice in the Fog," concludes: "The room is all pomegranate and gold; the fog clears--parting as if for the marriage of Venice with the sea--/ And all that could not be seen is seen, all that was imagined, is, all that was lost, found." Recommended.
- Kathleen Norris, Lemmon P.L., S.D.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (October 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684191679
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684191676
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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William Jay Smith went his own way as a poet, not part of any group, clique, or school, writing memorable poems over the course of a long life. He deserves to be remembered.
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