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This Time: New and Selected Poems Paperback – June 17, 1999

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Gerald Stern is often compared to Walt Whitman, and his verse does possess a similar oracular urgency. Yet his lines are shorter and more digestible to the modern ear, and his emotional sensibility is more likely to search for analogies in wildlife--maple trees and blue jays in Iowa backyards, spiders on New Jersey bridges--than in Whitman's worlds of labor and war.

Stern was 48 years old when his first collection, Rejoicings, appeared in 1973. A quarter century later, he has selected his finest work for This Time. Immediately one notices a consistency of style and concern. Indeed, one of his earliest poems, "When I Have Reached the Point of Suffocation," foreshadows his major themes of desolation and survival:

It takes years to learn how to look at the destruction
of beautiful things;

to learn how to leave the place
of oppression;

and how to make your own regeneration
out of nothing.

In his most moving poems, Stern witnesses this destruction of beauty and learns or resolves or forgets to take it on the chin. Many embody glimpses of delight made all the more poignant by their brief duration, the "one minute / to study the drops of silver hanging in the sun / before you turn the corner past the gatehouse." And though they focus intensely on their literal subjects, their scope expands to encompass what has been lost in this century--not just people and places, but an attainable sense of peace and solitude. --Edward Skoog --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

At once self-involved and sympathetic, Stern catalogues with wry dexterity a vast range of sensory data and cultural detritus, always united by "women and men of all sizes and all ages/ living together, without satire." This healthy collection of new poems and selections from his seven previous volumes (Odd Mercy, etc.) is remarkable for its generosity of spirit, manifested in a warm surrealism that is often turned with humor toward his own past ("My great specialty was darkness then/ and radiant sexual energy") as a way of understanding the recurrent questions of growing old: "Why did it take so long/ for me to get lenient? What does it mean one life/ only?" The greatest joy here lies in the excellence of Stern's longer sentences, which recall Whitman in their life-like pulse and flow, in their subtle verbal patternings that submerge rhetorical artifice beneath the breath of actual speech. Stern's closing assessment of his poem "Your Animal" is indicative of the ethics of the volume as a whole: "It is my poem against the starving heart./ It is my victory over meanness." When the poet warns, "Nothing is too small for my sarcasm," the counsel is a false snare; irony is not sarcasm, and it is Stern's ironic voice that allows for "some understanding, some surcease,/ some permanence" without lapsing into lyric sentimentality.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 17, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393319091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393319095
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reading a Gerald Stern poem is hitching a ride on a boomerang built with words. One is going to be taken on an exhilarating emotional ride through space and then returned gently to earth not quite the same person. Many compare Stern to Whitman because of his humanity which makes his work accessible and memorable. He is a magician who turns the mundane into magnificence by writing with his whole being. A master poet who doesn't tell about experiences, rather, he shares them with his readers. Keep this book by the bedtable and dream along with these poems.
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Format: Paperback
Gerald Stern's book of poems demonstrates it IS his time. The selected poems cover Stern's past up to present, suspending images and thought, passing a range of emotions that then rise from within the reader. I have read and continue to re-read this collection, hear G.S.'s matter-of-fact voice lifting from pages, see his impressions as clearly as if I were seeing them with my own eyes. This is a book I take along on trips or vacations or sudden moves. If you know Gerald Stern, you'll love THIS TIME; if you don't know Stern, you'll love him before finishing only five of his poems. Lovely, lovely... and thought provoking.
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Stern never disappoints. His voice stays true to his soul--the one he shows us in his poems. Sometimes when I read one of his poems, it's like a clarion bell goes off in my head. How does he do it? He's a master, a genius.
signed: A fan from Nebraska
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Format: Paperback
Gerald Stern just sweeps me away into his own world when I open to any page of this wonderful collection of poetry in "This Time; New and Selected Poems". If his work is new to you or you are a returning fan you will be profoundly rewarded by his powerful and haunting writing that takes you from his backyard then out everywhere into his great, wide world. His language ranges from the mystical to the perfectly frank whether set in the convoluted world of man or in the sacred space of his garden. He reaches inward and outward, he digs, he towers then reclines. He Shines!

Mr. Stern is richly deserving of all of the rewards he has received and so much more. A great American voice!
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