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American Poems: Books: The River Sound: Poems
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 Home » Books » The River Sound: Poems

The River Sound: Poems

  • List Price: $16.00
  • Buy New: $5.91
  • as of 9/2/2014 02:03 EDT details
  • You Save: $10.09 (63%)
In Stock
  • Seller:-Daily Deals-
  • Sales Rank:419,099
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Paperback
  • Number Of Items:1
  • Edition:First Edition
  • Pages:144
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):0.5
  • Dimensions (in):9.5 x 6.3 x 0.4
  • Publication Date:August 15, 2000
  • ISBN:0375704353
  • EAN:9780375704352
  • ASIN:0375704353
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days

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Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis
A strikingly beautiful book of poems from one of our finest poets, exhibiting his artistry in the style he has made his own. To his lyrics Merwin adds three long narrative poems: "Lament for the Makers" is his tribute to fellow poets who are gone and who had his admiration, from Dylan Thomas to James Merrill; "Testimony" is a tour de force, an autobiographical poem in the manner of Francois Villon; "Suite in the Key of Forgetting" is a remarkable poem about memory and memories. All in all, a masterly work by a major poet.
Amazon.com Review
W.S. Merwin is indisputably one of our finest living poets. The two books preceding The River Sound (The Vixen and The Folding Cliffs) are nearly flawless. Their thematic coherence and sustained, lyrical intensity are the culmination of Merwin's signature style: long, loping lines--frequently enjambed--with minimal if any punctuation. In these fluid poems, he has found the ideal form for his preoccupation with "the open unrepeatable / present."

The River Sound, while thematically building upon this preoccupation, does not quite reach the same stylistic virtuosity, though the book's shorter poems do exhibit Merwin's facility for transparently evoking the sensory details of a particular place, person, or memory. This rendering is especially poignant because many of its poems, such as "227 Waverly Place," are about Merwin at 70 taking leave, perhaps for the final time, of places and people that have become a part of him:

When I have left I imagine they will
repair the window onto the fire escape
that looks north up the avenue clear
to Columbus Circle long I have known
the lights of that valley at every hour
through that unwashed pane and have watched with no
conclusion its river flowing toward me
straight from the featureless distance coming
closer darkening swelling growing distinct
speeding up as it passed below me toward
the tunnel all that time through all that time...
Merwin falters, however, when he attempts to merge his open style within a traditional rhyming, iambic structure. In "Testimony," a 60-page autobiographical poem, the rhyme scheme and the sentiment can occasionally border on cliché: "The year I will be seventy / who never could believe my age / still foolish it appears to me / as I have been at every stage..." Yet within the context of Merwin's entire body of work, it's well worth reading. --Emily Warn

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