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Time and Materials: Poems 1997-2005 Hardcover – October 9, 2007

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Thefirst book in 10 years from former U.S. poet laureate Hass may be his best in 30: these new poems show a rare internal variety, even as they reflect his constant concerns. One is human impact on the planet at the century's end: a nine-part verse-essay addressed to the ancient Roman poet Lucretius sums up evolution, deplores global warming and says that the earth needs a dream of restoration in which/ She dances and the birds just keep arriving. Another concern is biography and memory, not so much Hass's own life as the lives of family and friends. A poem about his sad father and alcoholic mother avoids self-pity by telling a finely paced story. Hass also commemorates the late Polish Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz, with whom he collaborated on translations; condemns war in harsh, stripped-down prose poems; explores achievements in visual art from Gerhard Richter to Vermeer; and turns in perfected, understated phrases on Japanese Buddhist models. Through it all runs a rare skill with long sentences, a light touch, a wish to make claims not just on our ears but on our hearts, and a willingness to wait—few poets wait longer, it seems—for just the right word. (Oct.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Robert Hass, poet laureate of the United States between 1995 and 1997 and author of the popular Poet’s Choice newspaper column, surprised critics with his fifth collection of verse. As eloquent and inventive as in his previous collections, here Hass for the first time tackles public and private issuesâ€"from his unhappy mother in "The World as Will and Representation" to his antiwar stance in "Bush’s War" and in other poems. Charting such territory generally pleased critics, though a few described these poems as polemics, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer remarked that "the acrobatic risks consistently landed" better in previous collections. A few misses, perhaps, but otherwise a sublime collection from America’s poet.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061349607
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061349607
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Vivek Sharma VINE VOICE on November 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005 by Robert Hass is his first collection of poems to emerge in past ten years. Hass is a familiar name in the contemporary world of poetry. He has been awarded National Book Critics Circle Award twice, and was the poet laureate of the US from 1995-1997. He is a professor at University of Berkeley and is presently a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He has co-translated the work of Nobel-winner, Czeslaw Milosz. The present book has lapped up a National Book Awards nomination, and received rave reviews from the poets and journalists alike.

What is a poem? Is it a piece that must be interpreted on basis of what it contains, or based on who has written it? Is the identity of poet important? Do his past achievements bias us to read his poems more favorably? Great poets and artists, irrespective of their reputation during their lifetimes, manage to produce works that transcend time, space, language and meaning. The toolbox is words, workstation is a solitary, barely visible corner chair and table, and the audience is firstly the writer's innate desire to create, and then maybe, a slew of readers who open the book. For a poet with the credentials of Hass, the audience is ensured, and what I wish to examine is if his poems justify the applause for a reader like me. I wish to read his poems with a wonder and appreciation that reviewers have expressed everywhere.
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Format: Hardcover
"Time and Materials," the new collection of poems by Robert Hass is serious and reflective, but also playful and passionate. The themes of these poems are various; sex, war, art, the planet, the relationships between men and women, and language itself are all explored by Hass.

However, two of the dominate themes in the work are time and the nature of memory. Hass's examination of time and the materials of memories suggest that many of our recollections may contain more dreams and imaginations than we realize, and that over time the experiences we have, or think we have, are unintentionally revised and rescripted.

In, "Mouth Slightly Open," one of the shorter poems in the collection, thought and belief tumble together to create the possibility of an experience, a waking dream that leaves the subject, an oft-repeated `you', with only the memory of a possibility.

The body a yellow brilliance and a head
Some orange color from a Chinese painting
Dipped in sunset by the summer gods
Who are also producing that twitchy shiver
In the cottonwoods, less wind than river,
Where the bird you thought you saw
Was, whether you believe what you thought
You saw or not, and then was not, had
Absconded, leaving behind the emptiness
That hums in you now, and is not bad
Or sad, and only just resembles awe or fear.
The bird is elsewhere now, and you are here.

In the poem titled, "Then Time", Hass treats time as both a subject and a technique.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I only had to buy one book of poetry this year, it would be "Time And Materials" by Robert Hass. I say this because Hass is poet who can combine soulful meditation about his physical existence in a world surrounded by danger from humanity's destructive forces, to his own private personal inner thoughts of joy and sorrow from having lived his life between that hostile world and the world that creates art.

I like to think that if Baudelaire were born and raised in San Francisco in the 1950s, he'd write poems like Robert Hass, poems that have this double edge of horror and ecstasy, this fear and wonder at the movement of time, this repulsion and this attraction to nature, to beauty, to the body--those "evil flowers."

Because, as Hass writes in my favorite poem from this collection, "Art And Life," a poem that looks like prose but that reads like verse:

There is nothing less ambivalent than animal attention
And so you honor it, admire it even, that her attention,
Turned away from you, is so alive, and you are melancholy
Nevertheless. It is best, of course, to be the one engaged
And being thought of, to be the pouring of the milk.

And what amazes me is that Hass's meditation on life as art puts the reader into the mind of the poet wishing he were part of the painting, inside the act of artistic creation, inside a human wish to be part of something so simple, a fluid gesture of time caught at the threshold, a woman pouring milk in Vermeer's famous painting.
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