The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems, 1966-1996
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- Sales Rank:171,272
- Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
- Number Of Items:1
- Shipping Weight (lbs):1
- Dimensions (in):9 x 5.9 x 0.9
- Publication Date:April 7, 1997
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The Figured Wheel fully collects the first four books of poetry, as well as twenty-one new poems, by Robert Pinsky, the former U.S. Poet Laureate.
Critic Hugh Kenner, writing about Pinsky's first volume, described this poet's work as "nothing less than the recovery for language of a whole domain of mute and familiar experience." Both the transformation of the familiar and the uttering of what has been hitherto mute or implicit in our culture continue to be central to Pinsky's art. New poems like "Avenue" and "The City Elegies" envision the urban landscape's mysterious epitome of human pain and imagination, forces that recur in "Ginza Samba," an astonishing history of the saxophone, and "Impossible to Tell," a jazz-like work that intertwines elegy with both the Japanese custom of linking-poems and the American tradition of ethnic jokes. A final section of translations includes Pinsky's renderings of poems by Czeslaw Milosz, Paul Celan, and others, as well as the last canto of his award-winning version of the Inferno.
Katha Pollitt writes that these are "extraordinarily accomplished and beautiful poems." Pinsky is a respected critic and translator and, as a poet, is a genius of sound and lineation. He also excels at the startling image, as when he describes a brain as "humming to itself, / Like a fat person eating M&Ms in the bathtub." The vividness of the image grabs our attention even as its poignancy and cruel edge complicate the tone of this intricate poem ("History of My Heart"). An impressive and moving collection.
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