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News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness Reprint Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0871563682
ISBN-10: 0871563681
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Robert Bly, poet and critic, is the author of many books, including the National Book Award-winning Light Around the Body, as well as the popular Iron John. He is also known for his translations of the poetry of Pablo Neruda, Gunnar Ekelof, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and Knut Hamsun, among others, and for his compelling, interpretive readings.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; Reprint edition (August 29, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0871563681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871563682
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Most of the books we read, no matter how startling they may be and no matter how much seeming "News" they may bring us, somehow end up fitting quite comfortably into our mind. We read them, we may be excited about them for a while, but they are soon set aside and we move on, quite unchanged, to fresh pastures.
Rarely, very rarely however, a book will happen along that truly rocks us, a book that has the power to shift our mind into a different register, to provide us with a whole new way of seeing. Such books have the effect of somehow altering our mind, re-structuring it, opening up new synapses, and thereby enabling or empowering us see the world in a wholly new and different light. These are golden books, bearers of striking truths, of real "News." Perhaps we need to be intellectually and emotionally ready for them, but when they do come they can effect a radical change in our outlook on life.
Despite many years of intensive reading, I can think of only two or three books that have affected me in this way. One of them was by the British writer, Douglas E. Harding. Another was the present book.
One of the things Bly's 'News of the Universe' taught me to see was that modern human beings are a very strange lot, a life-form that is totally and utterly obsessed with just one thing - itself. Most of our waking moments are occupied with people-related matters. We are almost manically people-obsessed. We read books about people, watch movies about people, think and talk incessantly about people. And we don't find this odd.
We are concerned with what people are saying, thinking, feeling, doing, wearing, drinking, eating, buying, building, plotting, loving, fearing, suffering, etc.
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"The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap."
"News of the Universe" was originally issued as a Sierra Club book and contains poems selected (and sometimes translated) by Robert Bly. The book is worth buying just for Bly's introduction and his analysis of 'Dover Beach'. Frequently, I find myself dipping into "News of the Universe" for inspiration (like a Protestant choosing a random verse from the Bible). I keep this book at work for the times when I feel really out of touch with the Natural World. Then I open up "News of the Universe" and find (for instance):
"In the heart of man/There sleeps a green worm/That has spun the heart about itself,/And that shall dream itself black wings/One day to break free into the beautiful black sky" - Galway Kinnell.
Somehow as I sit in this dry little cubicle, surrounded by gray cloth, plastic plug-ins, and Corporate slogans, the poems that Bly selected for this book make me feel less isolated from the true Universe. The poems ring True. They refresh. Since that was Bly's stated intention when he collected the poems, you ought to try them yourself and see if they work for you.
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"The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap."
"News of the Universe" was originally issued as a Sierra Club book and contains poems selected (and sometimes translated) by Robert Bly. The book is worth buying just for Bly's introduction and his analysis of 'Dover Beach'. Frequently, I find myself dipping into "News of the Universe" for inspiration (like a Protestant choosing a random verse from the Bible). I keep this book at work for the times when I feel really out of touch with the Natural World. Then I open up "News of the Universe" and find (for instance):
_________________________________________________________________
In the heart of man/There sleeps a green worm/That has spun the heart about itself,/And that shall dream itself black wings/One day to break free into the beautiful black sky. - Galway Kinnell.
_________________________________________________________________
The poems that Bly selected for this book make me feel less isolated from the Universe. The poems ring true. They refresh. Since that was Bly's stated intention when he collected the poems, you ought to try them yourself and see if they work for you.
There is also a sense of the presence of Death in them--what Bly defines by the Spanish word "Duende" in another one of his anthologies--so much so, that many of the poems in this book can be used as elegies.
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I read News of the Universe when it was first published, decades ago. It's one of my most trashed books. I refuse to replace it because every coffee spill, lipstick smear, tear stain, dirty fingerprint, dog ear, and highlighter mark contains something of my journey over those years. It's more than a book; it's a companion. Few books ever rise to that level of sentience, or importance. Most of the time, you read books. This book reads you. These poems look out of the pages at you, seeing into your soul. You cannot hide. Robert Bly is a genius at appreciating other people's poetry, which is a rare gift in a profession that often falls prey to the occupational hazard of narcissistic self-absorption. Moreover, News is more than just a book of poetry. Bly articulates an important thesis about how modern civilization disconnected from the world (Nature), lost its way, and has been seeking its way back ever since . . . mostly through its infinitesimally small cadre of mystics, poets and earth lovers. This is an important thesis, whose relevance has grown rather than diminished over the years. The book moves through literary history into the 20th century, spanning a variety of cultures and hundreds of years, giving us precious jems that convey the numinous quality of earthy existence. I have given copies of this book to people I believed were "ready" for it in general, or who were in a period of genuine self-reflection, or who were healing or in need of healing. It is a great stepping off point for the further exploration of the poets contained herein. Can you tell I love New of the Universe? It's my desert island book. You should buy your copy before it goes out of print again.
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