More than twenty-five years after the appearance of his first Selected Poems, we at last have a magnificent new gathering of Mark Strand’s work, one that spans and celebrates his entire remarkable career to date. From Sleeping with One Eye Open (1964) through the wonderful middle work that includes The Continuous Life (1990), and crowned by the Pulitzer Prize–winning Blizzard of One (1998) and his most recent collection, Man and Camel (2006), this book makes a crucial selection of Strand’s always beautiful and by turns humorous and melancholy poems.
Over the decades Strand’s identity as a poet has remained firm: he is existential, playful, mysterious, a poet of simple words and sentences that somehow add up to powerful universal experiences. With his incantatory language and radiant, commanding imagery, he creates mythic scenes and vistas that, however otherworldly, are ultimately of this earth: their underlying subject the pain and pleasure of being mortal.
Here is an essential compilation from one of the most beloved and honored American poets at work today, without which no modern poetry collection is complete.
Strand's 1980 Selected Poems has probably long had a home on most contemporary poetry readers' shelves. That book proclaimed Strand's status as a major poet writing in a sometimes surreal, humorous, oracular mode: "If a man gives up poetry for power/ he shall have lots of power." This new volume extends that book to encompass the intervening two and a half decades and four collections of poems. From youthful masterpieces like the famous "Keeping Things Whole" ("In a field/ I am the absence/ of field") through the haunting middle work of Darker("The future is not what it used to be./ The graves are ready. The dead/ shall inherit the dead") up to the self-conscious vignettes of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Blizzard of One("It was clear when I left the party/ That though I was over eighty I still had/ A beautiful body") and last year's Man and Camel("The wonder of their singing,/ its elusive blend of man and camel, seemed/ an ideal image for all uncommon couples"), this important book offers the first panoramic view of the ongoing career of a poet who has mattered deeply to poets and readers alike. Strand's is one of the contemporary voices that will not fade. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information