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Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan Poetry Series) Paperback – September 25, 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Though my preference is for/ an utterance that aims at more?/ a single splendid edifice,/ not an untidy humble nest...both are made of the same stuff,/ our ever-raveling human cloth." Starting with the torn, fragmentary images of her first collection, Starting from Troy (1975), Hadas's interest in classical literature and translation is reflected throughout this choice from her 12 books, having developed from an emblem of the ruinous to an ability to balance memory and self-composure. With A Son from Sleep (1987), Hadas's concerns shift with the advent of motherhood, exploring the constituent elements of sound and language as formed by children's private codes: "Ock for clock. And Ock is also hot." Her descriptions of domestic life avoid sentimentality precisely because they emerge from such sparse examinations. The collection's most recent work is its most powerful achievement, summoning a prophetic intensity that nonetheless stays close to the ground: "I must keep to my path and my path only?/ closing our cars to thunder and cicadas,/ closing our eyes to all those trembling branches,/ meekly turning our backs on opalescence,/ on the jewels of potential transformation,/ getting ready to go back down the mountain." As in the simple, moving elegy, "Searching the Scriptures," where the poet finds the Bible of a deceased friend, and with it an underscored passage of Christ's apocalyptic pronouncements, Hadas treads carefully the path between "the old prophetic strain" and "life's sheer dailiness."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Exquisite, polished, cerebral, and yet filled with womanly, workaday reflections, Hadas's work reminds us that poetry is both celebration and a craft to be honed carefully. This book pulls together the best of 11 collections plus 33 new poems, all of which shine.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; 1st edition (September 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819522511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819522511
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,009,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on March 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It seems that putting out a Selected Poems of some type is currently en vogue. Witness the fact there are suddenly Selected Poems out from poets who have only 2 or 3 books. Rachel Hadas has numerous books of poetry, and seeing a selection from all of them leaves me wondering how on earth she has published so much. The poems are as dry and as dull as they come. Her use of meter is so thudding it gives one a headache. She isn't artful, clever, or moving. Her poems are rarely ever surprising. A few of the early poems showed promise, but Hadas hasn't lived up to that promise. She, like many poets in her generation, is living on her name and her false reputation. This is the work of someone entrenched in the poetry "industry" and not the work of a poet. A disappointing selection of poems.
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By A Customer on July 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine suggested I read this collection because she knows I prefer metrical verse. Unfortunately, although many of the poems in this selection are formal, they aren't all that good. The metrical poems are proficient though not deft (one wishes for the music of a Donald Justice or cleverness of an Anthony Hecht), but the poems rarely involve you; the poems seem too much like diary work, which is great for the writer but not so great for others. I am not a poetry critic, but I can say this book isn't what I thought it was going to be. I figured a selected poems would be the best poems by the poet. After reading it, I am not up to reading her life's work to see if they were, in fact, the best.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hadas is an excellent poet with a clear, expressive style and a deeply humane outlook on life and people. A number of the poems in this collection of works from throughout her career are moving and melancholy, but also laced with warmth and humor. Hadas is a poet for lovers of poetry, but also for the reluctant ones who aren't so sure poetry is for them.
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