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Strong Is Your Hold: Poems Paperback – Bargain Price, April 9, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Starred Review. Throughout his long career, Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winner Kinnell has returned to themes of death, love and the New England landscape and in this, his thoughtful and appealing 11th collection (and his first book of new poems in over a decade), these concerns announce themselves from the start: "I, who so often used to wish to float free / of earth now with all my being want to stay." Occasionally the poet veers too far toward silly, snapshot moments, but for the most part Kinnell injects the mundane—blown-out light bulbs, stubborn old nails, a snake residing in a brush pile—with meaning and passion. Readers familiar with Kinnell's poetry will be acquainted with his children, daughter Maud and son Fergus, who appear in many of these poems. Kinnell continues to write about parental love in ways that reflect the everyday and the transcendent, understanding that "His [Fergus'] birth and the birth of his sister / had put me on earth a second time, / with the duty this time to protect them / and to help them to love themselves." At the heart of the book is Kinnell's now-famous long poem about September 11, 2001, and the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, first published in the New Yorker. While it is difficult to imagine, five years later, what art could encompass the evil and human suffering of that terrible day, "When the Towers Fell" treats the subject with reverence, realizing the event to be a sad "corollary, a small instance in the immense/ lineage of the twentieth century's history of violent death." Rendered carefully over 13 harrowing sections, with lines borrowed from Celan, Crane and Whitman (from whom the book's title also comes), among others, the events of that day are recounted and imagined with powerful feelings of empathy and sorrow. A CD of the author reading the book in its entirety is also included. Just as he might at a live reading, Kinnell (A New Selected Poems, 2000) offers introductions and anecdotes before many of the poems on the CD. Like the work itself, Kinnell's voice is strong and soulful, and often tinged with melancholy. Longtime fans and new readers alike will find this collection a powerful addition to an important body of work.
(Publishers Weekly *starred review )

In his first new collection (with accompanying CD) in this still new, however tarnished century, Kinnell, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, begins with homey lyrics in praise of an enduring marriage, parenthood, and friendship. These are tranquil poems, sweet, amusing, and wholesomely sexy. Sage, too, as in the charming "Conversation," a witty exchange between the poet and his daughter that contains the aphorism, "--When ordinary things feel odd / and odd things normal, be careful." And, indeed, there is much to beware of, as the poet reveals in penetrating accounts of everyday life-and-death battles and elegies to his lost ones. Kinnell's poems are contained, even plain, but there is mineral power in his freshly turned language, and the carefully stacked kindling of his lines leaps into sky-high conflagrations, most indelibly in the magnificent "When the Towers Fell." Seasoned and forthright, Kinnell wisely turns to nature for instruction, noting "the crawling of new life out of the old, / which is what we have for eternity on earth."
(Booklist -Donna Seaman )

Review

Starred Review. Throughout his long career, Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winner Kinnell has returned to themes of death, love and the New England landscape and in this, his thoughtful and appealing 11th collection (and his first book of new poems in over a decade), these concerns announce themselves from the start: "I, who so often used to wish to float free / of earth now with all my being want to stay." Occasionally the poet veers too far toward silly, snapshot moments, but for the most part Kinnell injects the mundane—blown-out light bulbs, stubborn old nails, a snake residing in a brush pile—with meaning and passion. Readers familiar with Kinnell's poetry will be acquainted with his children, daughter Maud and son Fergus, who appear in many of these poems. Kinnell continues to write about parental love in ways that reflect the everyday and the transcendent, understanding that "His [Fergus'] birth and the birth of his sister / had put me on earth a second time, / with the duty this time to protect them / and to help them to love themselves." At the heart of the book is Kinnell's now-famous long poem about September 11, 2001, and the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, first published in the New Yorker. While it is difficult to imagine, five years later, what art could encompass the evil and human suffering of that terrible day, "When the Towers Fell" treats the subject with reverence, realizing the event to be a sad "corollary, a small instance in the immense/ lineage of the twentieth century's history of violent death." Rendered carefully over 13 harrowing sections, with lines borrowed from Celan, Crane and Whitman (from whom the book's title also comes), among others, the events of that day are recounted and imagined with powerful feelings of empathy and sorrow. A CD of the author reading the book in its entirety is also included. Just as he might at a live reading, Kinnell (A New Selected Poems, 2000) offers introductions and anecdotes before many of the poems on the CD. Like the work itself, Kinnell's voice is strong and soulful, and often tinged with melancholy. Longtime fans and new readers alike will find this collection a powerful addition to an important body of work.
(Publishers Weekly *starred review )

In his first new collection (with accompanying CD) in this still new, however tarnished century, Kinnell, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, begins with homey lyrics in praise of an enduring marriage, parenthood, and friendship. These are tranquil poems, sweet, amusing, and wholesomely sexy. Sage, too, as in the charming "Conversation," a witty exchange between the poet and his daughter that contains the aphorism, "--When ordinary things feel odd / and odd things normal, be careful." And, indeed, there is much to beware of, as the poet reveals in penetrating accounts of everyday life-and-death battles and elegies to his lost ones. Kinnell's poems are contained, even plain, but there is mineral power in his freshly turned language, and the carefully stacked kindling of his lines leaps into sky-high conflagrations, most indelibly in the magnificent "When the Towers Fell." Seasoned and forthright, Kinnell wisely turns to nature for instruction, noting "the crawling of new life out of the old, / which is what we have for eternity on earth."
(Booklist -Donna Seaman )

Product details

  • ASIN : B003E7EWLE
  • Publisher : Mariner Books; Pap/Com Re edition (April 9, 2008)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 80 pages
  • Item Weight : 4 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6 x 0.25 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.8 out of 5 stars 18 ratings

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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5
18 global ratings
5 star
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4 star
16%
3 star 0% (0%) 0%
2 star 0% (0%) 0%
1 star
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