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41. May It Please the Court: Judicial
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42. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection
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43. Legal Writing in Plain English:
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44. I Heard God Laughing: Renderings
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45. Understanding the Constitution
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46. The Poetry of Robert Frost : The
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47. The Practice of Poetry : Writing
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48. In the Palm of Your Hand:The Poet's
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49. The Complete Works of W.H. Auden
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50. The Norton Anthology of Poetry,
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51. Why I Wake Early
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52. Small Wonder : Essays
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53. A Message to Garcia
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54. Gilgamesh : A New English Version
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55. The Inferno
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56. The Blind Assassin : A Novel
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57. The Riverside Chaucer
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58. Blinking with Fists
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59. Where Shall I Wander : New Poems
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60. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,

41. May It Please the Court: Judicial Processes and Politics in America
by Brian L. Porto
list price: $62.40
our price: $62.40
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Asin: 0321036832
Catlog: Book (2000-09-06)
Publisher: Longman
Sales Rank: 1018000
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42. The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems
by Coleman Barks, John Moyne, Reynold A. Nicholson, Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi
list price: $28.00
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Asin: 0060604530
Catlog: Book (2001-09-01)
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Sales Rank: 350665
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

When Rumi was born in Afghanistan in 1207, it was a time of tremendouspolitical turmoil in the Near East. Paradoxically, it was also a time of"brilliant mystical awareness," writes translator Coleman Barks in The Soulof Rumi. This brilliance shines through in every passage, as Barkscelebrates the ecstatic nature of Rumi's poetry. Barks (The Essential Rumi) has beengiven much credit for leading modern Westerners to this astounding poet. Hissensitivity to the reader is evidenced in how he organizes the poetry accordingto themes. Since Rumi is often quoted at public gatherings, such as weddings andmemorial services, this makes referencing especially easy. In the sectionentitled "When Friend Meets Friend," readers find the poem "The Soul's Friend":

The most living moment comes when those who love each other meeteach other's eyes and in what flows between them then. To see your face in a crowd of others, or alone on afrightening street, I weep for that….
Barks offers a gracefully rendered introduction to each section, providingpersonal and historical background of the poetry. Elegantly designed and printedon cream-colored, heavy-stock paper, this is a delight for Rumi fans. --GailHudson ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best introduction to Rumi available
If there is only one book of Rumi you purchase, this should be it. But warning, the purchase may send you into a frenzy to learn and read more.

Barks' works as a translator here make poetry come alive, leap off the page and fly circles around your mind. A single poem can bring a person to great thoughts.

The book begins with a great introduction to Rumi's life, work, culture, spirituality, but Barks also includes some history of Sufi poetry. Then Barks divides the poetry into logical sections. Some involve community, others involve love, some love of God, peace between religions, inner life, work, home, playing... The range of catagories Barks creates represent human life in a wholeistic manner. They make Rumi's poetry easier to grasp, much more enjoyable, and center on the needs of all human beings. Barks also introduces each section (usually no more than a page). Barks' intros are concise, clear, and point toward key ideas in the most notable poems of each section.

This large collection of poetry is worth reading for a lifetime. Not to mention as Robert Bly asked of Barks years ago, Barks follows through in "releasing these translations from their cages."

5-0 out of 5 stars The alchemy of RumiÕs vision brought to life
Jelaluddin Rumi has become familiar to Western readers who seek out ecstatic poetry, as more and more translations and commentaries are offered on perhaps this greatest of mystical writers. But as they say, it takes one to know one, and Coleman BarksÕ masterpiece is the obvious product of an attuned heart and poetic soul.

This volume is one of the clearest and most vibrant illustrations of the Ôwild heartÕ Rumi was and is. It is difficult to find superlatives which do justice to the beauty and towering vision this work contains. Every verse, every line seems to open, in some disarmingly simple way, vast new vistas of possibilities for the human spirit.

How good is this book? The highest accolade that can be given Barks is that his brief section introductions, frequently fodder in other volumes exploring Rumi, here are powerful and transformative in their own right. Each one sets up the following verses in a natural and seamless flow. BarksÕ light shines brightly, even in the rarefied company he keeps.

Get this volume and devour it. Then get another copy and give it to someone who is ready for the infinite freedom it open-handedly offers...

5-0 out of 5 stars Nice...
When I first began to read this book, I didn't like it nearly as much as the essential rumi, some of the poems just didn't speak to me in quite the same way. But this last winter break, I read through the whole masnavi at the end of the book, and it gave me a very different feeling from anything I've ever read before. It was like there was a deeper message, or an understanding which is difficult to say other then just a deeper understanding of everything.

2-0 out of 5 stars Love's Embodiment
Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi. He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobia and perhaps homophobia.

Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical men.

In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment?

Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong.

2-0 out of 5 stars Embodied Love?
Although I own and have read most of Coleman Bark's Rumi books, never until today did I suspect that he so profoundly misunderstood the relationship of Shams and Rumi.

He writes, "Their meeting in the heart is beyond form and touch and time." (p.188) Of course their relationship was spiritual even mystical, but where does the spiritual start but in "form and touch and time"? Barks seems to be denying that Rumi's poems describe an embodied connection with Shams. This is gnostic, erotophobic and perhaps homophobic.

Barks arrogantly writes: "The question is often asked if Rumi and Shams were lovers in the sexual sense. No." (p.188) How can Barks write that sentence with such dogmatic certainty, especially after reading hundreds of Rumi's love poems to Shams? How does he know that this love is merely spiritual ("beyond touch")? I am glad that Barks has finally shown us his ideological position. I worry how this "spiritual disembodied viewpoint:" has shaped his translations of Rumi.

I think it is impossible to know the exact details of the physical relationship of Rumi and Shams but the love poems express an incredibly embodied physicality. So I personally imagine that they did have one of the great sexual relationships of all time. But my evidence is in the poetry. The poetry describes a profoundly embodied relationship between two mystical, physical men.

In the future, I will seek other translators of Rumi so as not to be influenced by this disembodiment.

Rumi and Shams were two physical men who met in a physical place in November of 1244. This meeting was within 'form', with 'touch' and within 'time.' Coleman Barks is wrong. ... Read more


43. Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text With Exercises
by Bryan A. Garner
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
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Asin: 0226284182
Catlog: Book (2001-06-05)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 18810
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Admirably clear, concise, down-to-earth, and powerful-unfortunately, these adjectives rarely describe legal writing, whether in the form of briefs, opinions, contracts, or statutes. In Legal Writing in Plain English, Bryan A. Garner provides lawyers, judges, paralegals, law students, and legal scholars sound advice and practical tools for improving their written work. The book encourages legal writers to challenge conventions and offers valuable insights into the writing process: how to organize ideas, create and refine prose, and improve editing skills. In essence, it teaches straight thinking--a skill inseparable from good writing.

Replete with common sense and wit, the book draws on real-life writing samples that Garner has gathered through more than a decade of teaching in the field. Trenchant advice covers all types of legal materials, from analytical and persuasive writing to legal drafting. Meanwhile, Garner explores important aspects of document design. Basic, intermediate, and advanced exercises in each section reinforce the book's principles. (An answer key to basic exercises is included in the book; answers to intermediate and advanced exercises are provided in a separate Instructor's Manual, free of charge to instructors.) Appendixes include a comprehensive punctuation guide with advice and examples, and four model documents.

Today more than ever before, legal professionals cannot afford to ignore the trend toward clear language shorn of jargon. Clients demand it, and courts reward it. Despite the age-old tradition of poor writing in law, Legal Writing in Plain English shows how legal writers can unshackle themselves.

Legal Writing in Plain English includes:

*Tips on generating thoughts, organizing them, and creating outlines.
*Sound advice on expressing your ideas clearly and powerfully.
*Dozens of real-life writing examples to illustrate writing problems and solutions.
*Exercises to reinforce principles of good writing (also available on the Internet).
*Helpful guidance on page layout.
*A punctuation guide that shows the correct uses of every punctuation mark.
*Model legal documents that demonstrate the power of plain English.


... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Attorneys can't write well without this book!
Quit searching -- this is the best book on legal writing that you will find. It is outstanding.

I am an attorney in Texas, and I have attended two of Mr. Garner's legal-writing seminars. He is currently the leading authority on legal writing; he is also an engaging speaker. His approach is to eliminate legalese and to present a powerful and succinct message. This approach has a very practical foundation -- over the years, Mr. Garner has polled judges across the country to see which writing elements they prefer.

This volume distills Mr. Garner's findings into a compact, 227-page format. The book also contains model documents -- a research memorandum, a legal motion, an appellate brief, and a business contract -- which serve as excellent reference tools for the legal practitioner.

Put simply, if you don't subscribe to Mr. Garner's advice, you don't know how to write well. And this book is the best way yet to access to Mr. Garner's valuable insight. This book is an ESSENTIAL reference tool.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Enlighten Reformer Improving Writing For All!
Bryan Garner is a beacon of light in a profession over wrought in using formal vain communications. I was able to review this book at a Writing Seminar led by the author. He is reforming the way all people should communicate and his lectures are sincerely admirable.

The author teaches a, "Can Do Style," of encouragement. I came away concluding the old method of learning by rote is failing. English Teachers are excellent in explaining the rules of good grammar. But terrible on coaching children in applying the rules for skillful writing. I am not concluding all English Teachers deserve blame here. Teachers simply restate how they learn grammar

Likewise, ideal teaching avoids faultfinding personal attacks as much as possible. Human nature prompts one to avoid parents or teachers or practicing embarrassment is the road to success. Instead, the author urges that all writing should make the reader feel smart.

The legal profession is a victim of what they read. The most insecure judges, lawyers and law clerks often wrote to display their education. Today, the best lawyer will use plain English to convince others of the merits to his argument. Success and confidence draw near by making anyone feel they are smart because they accept you. Using large words makes one think about the words they do not know above your alluring reasoning.

Bryan Garner's primers along with practicing his techniques will change you into a stronger writer, lawyer and person. You will not regret spending the money on Bryan Garner's books and seminars. The goal is to make everyone feel smarter by reading what you write! What better way to change the world by touching people with your thoughts to words to deeds!

5-0 out of 5 stars Plain English is Shorter, More Precise.
The problem with the 1-star review is that it has the problem completely reversed. The reviewer suggests that traditional legal drafting is *shorter* than the plain english drafting that Garner proposes. He need only read Garner's books to learn that traditional drafting is *significantly* longer and more difficult to read than plain English.

Furthermore, the reviewer needs to realize that Garner is not advocating that all legal writing be poetry. First and foremost, he advocates for clarity and precision. If the writer can also make it interesting to read (or even a joy to read), then more power to the writer.

If you're a lawyer and hate seeing "WHEREAS" before each recital and prefer a simple sentence, Garner is the man for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Great Garner Strikes Another Blow for Good Prose
Bryan A. Garner is leading what might be a Quixotic charge to make lawyers write clear, clean, unambiguous and even interesting prose. This book is a recent addition to the Garner arsenal, which includes the excellent The Winning Brief and A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage. The anonymous writer from New York who slams Garner is wrong. He claims that traditional legal drafting has stood the test of time and is readily understood by judges, who ultimately have to interpret it. If the writing were clear to begin with, the parties wouldn't get to a judge. They'd likely settle. And that writer ignores the fact that there are thousands, perhaps millions, of legal decisions over contract disputes, almost all arising from documents that were "traditionally drafted." And different judges can decide differently about the meaning of a clause. That writer askes rhetorically whether Garner would insist that mathematicians use prose to make their work clear to laypeople. The rhetoric ignores the fact that mathematics is its own language. Legal writing is written in English, the same English used to buy groceries, talk lovingly to your spouse, and complain to the doctor about what ails you. There is no valid reason a contract should be beyond the comprehension of a layperson, other than lawyers' need to feel like they're elevated professionals with a grip on arcana. And the writer's praise of "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary" as an incantatory phrase in contracts overlooks an obvious improvement: "DESPITE anything in this agreement to the contrary . . . ." Garner is a brilliant, insightful teacher who cares deeply about the language and its highest and best use. We know what happens with legalese: litigation and contention and noncomprehension. Give plain English a try, with Garner as your guide to Aquinas's trinity of wholeness, harmony, radiance, and of course clarity clarity clarity.

5-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT
EXCELLENT BOOK, ALSO MODERN LEGAL USAGE, 2ND EDITION. ENOUGH SAID. ... Read more


44. I Heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz
by Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky, Henry S. Mindlin, H. Wilberforce Clarke
list price: $14.00
our price: $11.90
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Asin: 0915828189
Catlog: Book (1996-08-01)
Publisher: Sufism Reoriented
Sales Rank: 20382
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Understanding Hafiz
Having read the very critical review by "Ali" who seems to fail to comprehend the difficulty in translating Hafiz into English I would like to defend the "Renderings". I have read just about every English translation of anything that Hafiz wrote beginning with Clark and ending with Bly. There is no way to translate without loosing something and unfortunately the beauty, the melody, and the rythym of the original farsi is lost in all the translations by the virtue of the language differences. "I heard God Laughing: Renderings of Hafiz" is well named and titled. There is a spirit behind the poetry that is captured in these renderings that I am sure Hafiz himself would approve of. It is that beauty that I am sure he wanted to in some small way capture for future generations as he shared his devout love affair with the "beloved rose" of his life. The renderings will help any sincere aspirant on the road to the "tavern" of "divine wine drinkers". Those of us who have tasted the wine can truly find the scent of it in the renderings. The renderings inspire the dance of the soul!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hafiz trues the course of our journey towards Love.
Such beauty! In this joyous book Hafiz appears to us as a beacon of pure light in contemporary garb. These deeply tender, witty, clear-eyed and fullest -hearted renditions have brightened my life. Hafiz can't help but true the course of our journey towards Love. Because for Hafiz, in fact, nothing else exists; for him, only Love is Real.

Hafiz has influenced and nourished a gracious many through the years. In the West, inspired notables include Goethe, Nietzsche, Byron, Hugo and Emerson. Emerson wrote of Hafiz in his journals, "He fears nothing. He sees too far; he sees throughout; such is the only man I wish to see and be." And Goethe exclaimed, "This is madness, I know well, Hafiz has no peer!"

I Heard God Laughing is a perfect gem of a book. Go ahead, take Hafiz home with you. Why-- he might even lead the way, dancing and singing all the while.

5-0 out of 5 stars A happy bit of poetry,
Life is fun, or should be, and meant to be lived in love is the message of these poems, those who don't think so are being deceived. Hafiz was a main influence on the third and final stage of Goethe's writing and ideas. They also demonstrate the diversity of thought in the Persian influenced area of the world.

Of course something is lost in translation with most all poetry, one sees only a single frame of a changing kaleidoscope. There is a passion glimmered here that seems most intense.

5-0 out of 5 stars life changing
When I started questioning my religion as a Christian, I started losing a lot of faith... then I came across this book.
The translations are incredible, the poetry is awesome, and I love the history and context section in the back of the book. I carry it with me whenever I travel, I read a poem every night. It's really wonderful, it makes it so that no matter how terrible my day was, it can end beautifully.
Buy it, it will change your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars I have a celebrity crush on Hafiz!
Hafiz's poems are deeply passionate and always inspirational. I teach massage therapy in Austin and we have elevated him to honorary faculty because he is the most quoted author by all the instructors at any school function where one of us may be required to say a few words. I can never make it through this book without weeping tears of joy. Hafiz is a master of the Art of Joy. Through his loving instruction, you can see the loveliness of even the darkest night of your soul. With a voice steady enough to whisper to us over 800 years, the light of his spirit is a beacon to seekers everywhere. He's dreamy! ... Read more


45. Understanding the Constitution
by Sue Davis, J. W. Peltason
list price: $50.95
our price: $50.95
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Asin: 0534614078
Catlog: Book (2003-10-15)
Publisher: Wadsworth Publishing
Sales Rank: 274863
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For over fifty years, UNDERSTANDING THE CONSTITUTION has helped students understand and interpret the document that outlines America's fundamental rules and government structures. Always current and concise, this textbook goes beyond generalities to discover the major constitutional issues of our times, a constantly evolving process. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

1-0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this book
They removed my last review, maybe this one will make it. Don't buy this book. Its written by a pack of convoluted thinking leftist bedwetters. if you want a factual book about the U.S. Constitution buy one published by the Cato Institute.

4-0 out of 5 stars Step by step clarification
This book is a wonderful resource for someone interested in learning about the constition. This book walks you through the constitution line by line explaining and giving examples from actual court cases along the way. It's a little bit old, but I think it's definitly worth reading as a first look at the constitution. ... Read more


46. The Poetry of Robert Frost : The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged
by Robert Frost
list price: $37.50
our price: $23.62
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Asin: 0805005021
Catlog: Book (1969-11-15)
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Sales Rank: 8547
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the only comprehensive volume of Robert Frost's published verse; in it are the contents of all eleven of his individual books of poetry-from A Boy's Will (1913) to In the Clearing (1962). The editor, Edward Connery Lathem, has scrupulously annotated the more than 350 poems in this book.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetry for the common man
What can I say? Robert Frost is the quintessential American poet. Quite frankly, I never have really been drawn to poetry, either it is overly sentimental, too dramatic, or tries to hard to make a statement. Frost avoids all of these pitfalls, he writes poetry for the common man.

I have to admit, I prefer the earlier works. Beautiful word pictures of an abandoned wood pile in the woods, a dirty patch of snow (or is it a piece of newspaper), and of course, a horse stopping by the woods on a snowy evening. His latter poems lack the beautiful simplicity of his earlier works, but nevertheless, they are still works of the master.

Over the years, this book has been a constant companion. Sitting in my wingback chair, I have enjoyed reading these poems again and again. As I prepared for this review I was struck how many of these poems dealt with death: The Death of the Hired Man, After Apple Picking, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, A Late Walk among them. Others are fanciful such as The Kitchen Chimney.

If you are considering taking a dive into poetry, start here. There is no better American poet than Robert Frost.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
Such great poems from a great person. One of my favorites.

2-0 out of 5 stars Amateurish audio production
This tape is poorly done. The tape quality is bad, and the production is cluttered with music and other background noise. Some of the readings are too fast, and some of the voices aren't very pleasant to listen to. No index is provided, so you have to listen to the tape if you want to know what's on it, and you have no way of knowing who's reading what. This is annoying if you want to read along with the audio.

If you buy this, buy the audio download instead of the tape. Audible.com cleaned it up considerably. One nice feature is that if you burn this onto a CD, each poem is on a separate track, as is done with songs on a music CD, except for a few longer pieces that run over to a second track.

For the record, there are 50 poems in this production. All but 2 of them, "Asking For Roses" and "Spoils Of the Dead," are in the print book by the same title.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still wonderful after all these years
I first owned this volume of poetry in 1978. That book simply fell apart after more than 20 years of reading and handling (sometimes roughly by my children). I replace this book with a new one just last year.
The old favorites are all here; Fireflies in the Garden, The Road Not Taken, Fire and Ice, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and a hundred more. In my opinion this is the definitive volume on Frost.
I have always been awed by the number of poems Frost wrote about the stars. A Star on a Stoneboat, The Star Spitter, Stars, Canis Major and many others. Truly Robert Frost is the astronomers poet.
Also in this volume is perhaps my favorite Frost poem, Brown's Descent.
If you love reading Frost on a crispy fall evening, then you'll love reading him when the crickets chirp. You'll need to own this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Poetry-Lover's Definitive Frost
Robert Frost was and is America's greatest poet. Excepting, perhaps, W. B. Yeats, he may be the greatest poet to write English in the twentieth century. (To me, it's a toss-up.) To read this volume systematically or desultorily is to become convinced of that. But Frost is, above all, accessible, so the casual reader may not appreciate the difficulty of what he does. Like much of the greatest art his looks easy, even inevitable.

All of Frost's poems are here, plus his two dramatic Masques. When this book first appeared (in 1969) it caused a furor: the editor, it was angrily asserted, presumed too much. He dared to clarify - inserting a hyphen here, excising a comma there. That furor has since died down, as people realize that he did not do away with the sacred texts (any emendation was noted), but simply performed his job as editor. He regularized spelling and the use of single and double quotes (though not Capitalization, which can legitimately be thought of as integral to the poet's expression (think of e.e. cummings!)), and corrected other obvious errors. The notes give the published variants for each poem, so if you wish you may make your own call on some of these finicky issues.

I cannot emphasize enough: BUY THE HARDCOVER! After all, you will be reading this book for the rest of your life. It is a beautifully-built volume, of an easy size and heft for use, with understated appealing typefaces and an exemplary design. Put out by Frost's long-time publisher, this is one of the few essential books of American literature. ... Read more


47. The Practice of Poetry : Writing Exercises From Poets Who Teach
by Robin Behn
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006273024X
Catlog: Book (1992-09-23)
Publisher: HarperResource
Sales Rank: 13546
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A distinctive collection of more than 90 effective poetry-writing exercises combined with corresponding essays to inspire writers of all levels. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I was looking for.
I found this book more difficult to follow in my attempt to do creative writing on my own. I felt it lacked enough example poems. The exercises were inconsistent, as they seemed to come from some very different teaching styles. Many of the exercises just seemed so goofy that I didn't even bother with them. I would much more strongly recommend "In the Palm of Your Hand" for the same purpose.

5-0 out of 5 stars A cornucopia of exercises from poets we read and respect
This book is a must-read for any poet, regardless of skill. It has exercises ranging from terribly technical to wildly free formed. They are fun, sometimes even silly, and lead the reader into mental places they might never have thought to go. The results of the exercises always suprise the reader, and I would say that if a poem doesn't suprise it's writer, nothing has been learned. I recommended this book to a freshman poetry class and they all did many, many exercises on their own time. (Not a small feat for time-pressed college students!) Overall, I rank this book right up there with other indispensible books for poets such as Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Letters to a Young Poet from Rilke. Read this book, but don't just read it--live in it, sip from it, allow it to lead you where you may not know you need to go. You will be better for it, both in your writing and in your spirit.

4-0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Helpful....................
.....................Behn and Twichell bring us literally dozens of writing exercises from established poets like Maxine Kumin, Rita Dove, Donald Justice and many more. The chapters in the book are separated according to the poetry writing skill they are designed to sharpen. There are chapters on image and metaphor, self and subject, topic, structure, sound and rhythm, and on revision and writer's block. After each exercise is a thorough explanation of how the exercise is supposed to help the poet, often illustrated by the author's own personal experience. Additionally, some exercises are followed up with the titles (but not the actual poems) of recommended poems that should illustrate to the novice poet an excellent example particular poetic elements in action. Personally, I feel my poetry has been helped a great deal by the exercises that I've used in this book. I'm a beginner and I've come to see how choosing the right word is so critical, learned how to gain a different perspective, started to hear the "music" of poetry better, and I've begun to really see how critical strict revisioning is. I highly recommend this book to all novice poets!

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this book!
I taught from this book and continue to use it year after year in my own writing.

It's indispensable!

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful to teachers--essential for those who love to write
As a teacher of poetry writing, I am always looking for books that include exercises and inspiring starters that will help the young and or inexperienced writer. I bought this book for that purpose, but what I found myself doing was bringing the book home week after week so that I could experience the activities personally.

Writing is an incredibly personal activity that isolates one from others. This book brings writers together collectively to that lone writer and helps her to know she is not alone, and it helps that writer to try some new ways of tapping that well of creativity...even when the supply is running low.

There are a lot of books out there on writing poetry, but few are as inspiring and helpful as Ms. Behn's. It is a must have for every poet, teacher, and lover of poetry. ... Read more


48. In the Palm of Your Hand:The Poet's Portable Workshop
by Steve Kowit
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0884481492
Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Sales Rank: 4892
Average Customer Review: 4.91 out of 5 stars
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Steve Kowit believes, and rightly so, that poetry should show, not tell. Thesame could be said for good teaching, which is what makes this volume so remarkable. InIn the Palm of Your Hand Kowit employs more than 100 poems and excerpts toillustrate his discussions on everything from metaphor to meter to metaphysics. Workingyour way through this book--and it is work--is like sitting in on a terrific creative-writingseminar, minus the criticism (both constructive and destructive) of fellow students. If yougo by the book, you'll have written at least 69 poems by the end. Because of itsexplication of the basic tenets of poetry, In the Palm of Your Hand might bemistaken for a beginners' book only. That would be a shame. There are so many goodideas here that more experienced poets won't want to miss out; Kowit has lots of excitingways to invigorate one's writing. (Here's a favorite quick tip: "A good rule ofthumb is never to use a word that you're proud of.") In the Palm of YourHand is also recommended for members of writing groups who are interested inimposing some kind of structure on their meetings. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a wonderful book!
This is the best book I've read on poetry writing (and I've read a lot of 'em). It helped and inspired me to write so many poems and I learned so much from the book and the exercises included.

5-0 out of 5 stars The subtitle is true!!
After finishing a writing workshop for poetry I found myself wanting to find a guide to help me continue along the path the class had started for me. After only reading the first 3 chapters I already had started to write four poems, and many more were floating inside my head. This book is amazing in how helpful it is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book is amazing, it helped me refine my lyric writing so that my subject matter comes across in a much more powerful and profound way. This book is not only for poets but also songwrites and storytellers. I would recomend this book to anyone, that is in to creative writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for any writer
I got this book for a creative writing class, and haven't stopped using it since. I don't consider myself to be a poet, but this book has helped me create several different poems. I recommend it for anyone who wants a good handbook on writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Provided the exercises and examples I was looking for.
I wanted to get a book that got me writing again. Since I've been out of school for years and haven't "had" to do any creative writing, I have gotten out of practice. I was looking for something to start me writing again. This books gives many exercises to try and sample poems as examples. I would strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to write again. ... Read more


49. The Complete Works of W.H. Auden
by W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood
list price: $95.00
our price: $95.00
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Asin: 0691067406
Catlog: Book (1988-11-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 426623
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Book Description

In 1928 Stephen Spender hand-printed thirty copies of a small volume of poems by his friend W. H. Auden--the first published book by a man who was to become the dominant literary figure of his generation and one of the century's greatest poets. Sixty years later, Princeton University Press inaugurates an eight-volume edition of the complete works of Auden, which is intended to serve as the definitive text for all the works Auden published or intended to publish in the form in which he expected to see them printed: his plays and other drama, libretti, essays and reviews, and poems.

The Complete Works of W. H. Auden will provide a unique opportunity to solve the numerous textual problems connected with the severe revisions Auden made in his own works. The texts will be newly edited from Auden's manuscripts by Edward Mendelson, the literary executor of the Auden estate. As presented in this edition, they will be absolutely clean, with the notes appearing only at the ends of the volumes, along with variant readings from all published versions, as well as hitherto unpublished drafts or revisions. Also included will be introductions placing the works in the context of literary traditions and relating them to Auden's life and times.

As planned, the first volume of the series contains plays and other drama, and the second volume will include the libretti. The essays and reviews will appear in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth volumes, and the seventh and eighth volumes will contain the poems.

Plays and Other Dramatic Writings, 1928-1938

This volume contains Auden and Christopher Isherwood's dramatic extravaganzas The Dog Beneath the Skin, The Ascent of F 6, and On the Frontier. It also includes the two versions of Paid on Both Sides--which are so different as to constitute two works--and Auden's satiric revue The Dance of Death. Two plays appear in print for the first time, Auden and Isherwood's The Enemies of a Bishop and Auden's The Chase. Also included are Auden's prose and verse written for documentary films, a cabaret sketch, and an unpublished radio script. Many of the texts include poems by the young Auden that have never been published before. The extensive historical and textual notes trace the complex history of the production and revision of these plays, including full texts of rewritten scenes.

During the years when these works were created, Auden moved from a "poetry of isolation" to more expansive and public writing. After he left Oxford at age twenty-one, during the summer of 1928, he wrote the tragicomic charade Paid on Both Sides. During the next ten years, until he left England for America, he created the increasingly ambitious works for stage, film, and broadcast that appear in this volume. The most important of these plays were written in collaboration with Isherwood. As the world political situation worsened, Isherwood and Auden's style combined the energy of popular entertainment with the urgency of sacramental ritual. ... Read more


50. The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition
by Margaret Ferguson, Jon Stallworthy, Mary Jo Salter
list price: $56.80
our price: $56.80
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Asin: 0393979210
Catlog: Book (2004-12-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 1899391
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Book Description

Long the classic anthology of poetry in English, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Fifth Edition, adds to its wealth of known and loved poems a rich gathering of new poetry. Beginning with Beowulf, newly represented by selections from Seamus Heaney's dazzling translation, and continuing to the present day, The Norton Anthology of Poetry includes 1,100 poems by 250 poets in the Shorter Edition. Many major figures—from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Ashbery and Walcott—have expanded sections, and a range of outstanding younger voices have been newly added. Concise annotations, biographical sketches, an Essay on Versification by Jon Stallworthy, and, new to this edition, an Essay on Poetic Syntax by Margaret Ferguson help readers understand and enjoy the poems. ... Read more


51. Why I Wake Early
by Mary Oliver
list price: $22.00
our price: $15.40
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Asin: 0807068764
Catlog: Book (2004-04-15)
Publisher: Beacon Press
Sales Rank: 3216
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mary Oliver has been writing poetry for nearly five decades, and in that time she has become America's foremost poetic voice on our experience of the physical world. This collection presents forty-two new poems, all written within the last two years, wach exhibiting the power and grace that have ceome the hallmarks of Oliver's work.

This volume includes poems on crickets, toads, trout lillies, bears; on greeting the morning, watching deer, and, finally, on lingering in happiness. Each poem is imbued with the extraordinary perceptions of a poet at the height of her power, considering the everyday in our lives and finding reasons to marvel at all around her.
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Earthy yet sacred, simple yet profound.
In her 2002 book of poetry, WHAT DO WE KNOW, Pulitzer-Prize winning poet expressed her sense of wonder while listening to a loon at four a. m. (p. 64). In this new collection of 42 poems, she responds to the same question people have been asking me nearly all my life, "why wake up so early?" "It is what I was born for," Oliver explains, "to look, to listen,/ to lose myself/ inside this soft world--/ to instruct myself/ over and over/ in joy,/ and acclamation./ Nor am I talking/ about the exceptional,/ the fearful, the dreadful,/ the very extravagant--/ but of the ordinary,/ the common, the very drab,/ the daily presentations" ("Mindful," pp. 58-9). With a poet's gift of observation and a naturalist's eye for detail, Oliver turns her attention to the morning sun (p. 3), beans (p. 10), an arrowhead "found beside the river" (p. 11), trout lilies (p.12), a green snow cricket (p. 15), a swimming blacksnake (p. 19), clouds (p. 22), a marsh hawk floating in wide circles (p. 31), a flock of snow geese (p. 34), a bear track (p. 41), a luna moth "like a broken leaf" (p. 41), watching deer disappearing "into the impossible trees" (p. 49), "prayers that are made of grass" (p. 59), toads "sweet and alive in the sun" (p. 61), and the pleasures of lingering in happiness after a rain (p. 71) in these poems, always discovering the sacred within the ordinary. Whether she is "the madcap person clapping [her] hands and singing," or "that quiet person down on [her] knees" ("Sometimes," p. 39), readers will experience poetry in WHY I WAKE EARLY that Mary Oliver is best-known for, poetry that is earthy yet sacred, simple yet profound.

G. Merritt ... Read more


52. Small Wonder : Essays
by Barbara Kingsolver
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
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Asin: 0060504080
Catlog: Book (2003-04-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 3751
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In her new essay collection, the beloved author of High Tide in Tucson brings to us, out of one of history's darker moments, an extended love song to the world we still have.

Whether she is contemplating the Grand Canyon, her vegetable garden, motherhood, genetic engineering, or the future of a nation founded on the best of all human impulses, these essays are grounded in the author's belief that our largest problems have grown from the earth's remotest corners as well as our own backyards, and that answers may lie in both those places.

Sometimes grave, occasionally hilarious, and ultimately persuasive, Small Wonder is a hopeful examination of the people we seem to be, and what we might yet make of ourselves.

... Read more

Reviews (67)

3-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat lackluster for such a brilliant author
I was eager to read _Small Wonder_ after immensely enjoying Kingsolver's previous book of essays, _High Tide in Tucson_, as well as just about everything else she's written. I was disappointed to find it much less engaging. Kingsolver generally uses a very deft approach to moral ambiguities, presenting the reader with the issues and then for the most part leaving us to draw our own conclusions. In this book, however, I felt I was being beaten over the head with her ideology. Never mind that I agree with her on most points; I still didn't appreciate having her opinions stuffed down my throat. It may be that our country's current dismal outlook on the political and environmental scenes are causing her to become more angry and shrill. If so, this seems like a better way to turn readers off than on. If she weren't one of my favorite writers, I would probably have given this 2 stars rather than 3.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written Sanity
Since the Twin Towers crumbled, very few have had the courage to stand up in the face of the Jingoistic, shallow patriotism and say, there is something terribly wrong here! Ms. Kingsolver, writing beautifully as always, manages to make hard fisted moral statements sound like poetry, but nonetheless she says some things that need to be said, and, most of all, need to be heard.Whether it is debunking the nonsense that it is wrong for other countries to attack the US, but fair and just for the US to attack them back, or telling the truth out loud about the US involvement in setting up the Taliban's power in the first place, she tells it truly from her heart, and she tells it right and well. She addresses many topics in this wonderful book of essays, from the death penalty to poetry, to dreadful television, and she manages each time to stand outside of the mainstream point of view and look objectively, and from that stance, to point out the absurdity, and to point out a saner direction. Ms. Kingsolver says peace not war, love not hate, sharing not profit, and these ideas are not new, just stated newly and beautifully at a time when they need so desparately to be heard.
This was a wonderful book and I wish everyone would read it and let it in.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Not-So-Tasty Organic Stew
Barbara Kingsolver is an excellent writer and I have no trouble with anyone espousing her political views. It is her right as it is anyone else's. I admire her courage of conviction and many of the practices in her life. That said, however, I did find it a little hard to swallow the not-so-subtle lectures from an environmentalist who writes books that kill trees, lives in Tucson (aren't the organic gardens she writes of so glowingly all irrigated? How is that such a resource savings?), maintains two homes, jets around the world, and lives the way she chooses, not the way she has to. But then, I have always been a big fan of ironies.

Another irony that struck me was the unpleasant whiff of commercialism in packaging a collection of essays that seemed to capitalize on the events of 9-11 from someone who writes so eloquently about the soul-destroying aspects of rampant commercialism. While her writing is always a pleasure, her views seemed a tad simplistic at times. The 9-11 attacks were caused by global warming and multinational corporations -- nothing about US policies in the Middle East, religious fanaticism, and bad foreign policy in general. Homelessness can be solved by seeing that everyone has a home. (Having worked with several homeless people, I can testify that the solutions are just a tad more complicated than that.)

I was genuinely confused by her views on trade. If I buy food even from other parts of the United States is that a Bad Thing or a Good Thing? She points out that much of our food travels a long way to get to us -- conveniently ignoring the fact that people have sought goods from other lands for millenia -- but justifies her coffee because it is shade grown; I guess that cancels out the distance it is transported and the middlemen who also profit. And she rightly criticizes the big corporations who profit by using others and destroying land, but has nothing to say about the poor people in other lands who are using their little bit of commerce to feed their families.

She describes an encounter with several teachers who were nervous and afraid to come to work the day after the Columbine shootings. She is able to calm these silly gooses by pointing out that they are no more likely to die than any other day. But she herself is upset at 9-11, even though she doesn't live anywhere near the attacks, lost no one, and has no television. It just seems as though her feelings are genuine but others are shallow.

A final, personal quibble: I'd love to read something from a Southerner who doesn't have to point out that They Have Standards. I suppose that her comment about not being able to have company without doing some tidying because she is a Southerner was meant to be a little self-deprecatory humor, but the implication from her and others who keep doing this is that Other Folks are comfortable just sitting around in their underwear and throwing more trash onto the carpet. Believe it or not, other folks tidy up and invite people to dinner, can you imagine?

2-0 out of 5 stars A Not-So-Tasty Organic Stew
I have no problem with Barbara Kingsolver stating her political views, although I was surprised to discover that this is basically what these essays are. I admire the courage of her convictions and am happy to learn ways in which I might think of slower, kinder, more gentle times.

That said, however, some of this was kind of hard to swallow from a woman who maintains two homes, jets all over the world, and gardens because she chooses to, not because she has to. I have a major philosophical disconnect with an environmentalist who writes books that kill trees and who lives in Tucson, where surely they must have to irrigate to do all this local gardening, but I am a big fan of ironies. I also have a hard time accepting a series of essays that seems to capitalize on the events on 9-11 in a personal way. In one of her essays, Kingsolver describes how she calmed a number of teachers who, silly geese, were nervous at coming to work the day after the Columbine shootings. She points out how they are no more likely to die than any other day and they are comforted. Isn't it special that she was there to do that? Yet she writes several times about how *deeply* the events of 9-11 affected her, even though she doesn't live anywhere near the affected areas, lost no one, and has no television. Why are her feelings so profound while others are so shallow? A lot of her essays seem to focus on ways in which she shuts herself off from negative feelings and images (I happen to agree with her about television, and about a number of other issues), but then she chooses to inject herself into 9-11 and become one of us, so to speak. There's a nasty whiff of commercialism about this book, again ironic in a collection that speaks so eloquently about the soul-destroying aspects of rampant consumerism.

I also found myself genuinely confused about her food and trade issues. If I buy food from other parts of the world, is that a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? If I support the multinational corporations, it's a Bad Thing, but may I still have my oatmeal from Ireland and my olive oil from Italy? Is that trade in a humane way, or just another American buying things she doesn't need? I really don't know. She points out that a lot of food travels great distances to reach us, but people have always sought goods and food from other lands. In a non-hostile manner, it strikes me as one of the ways we learn to respect each other's differences, but Kingsolver really doesn't delve into this. She does speak out against the overbearing tendencies of the big corporations, and I agree with her, but she never gets into the cottage industries in Third World countries that may be selling goods to support their families.

Speaking of big corporations -- and I am in a spoiler mood today -- the main reason the United States was attacked, according to her, was global warming. If she mentions global warming once, she does it a dozen times. Well, global warming *is* a serious problem, but maybe our policies in the Middle East, religious fanaticism, and bad foreign policy in general just might have had a little to do with it, but what do I know?

And a final, personal quibble: is it not possible for a Southern woman to refrain from interjecting comments about doing things certain ways because she's a Southerner? She mentions that she's from the South and therefore is just not capable of greeting visitors without doing a little tidying. I suppose that's meant to be a little self-deprecating humor, but really, it's hostile and rude. The clear implication is that *other* folks just lie there in their underwear flinging trash onto the rug. Surprise, Barbara: people who are not special enough to be Southerners actually pick up their living rooms and invite people to dinner. This is not some special Southern thing, even if that's what you were taught.

3-0 out of 5 stars It was Good and it was Bad...
I read an interesting essay in this book about a wild Bear that had nursed a child in a remote cave in a mountainous area in Iran.

I find it unfortunate that Ms. Kingsolver (and also the Editors), do not understand that the language of Iran is not "Arabic"... It was humorous that Ms. Kingsolver says that inspite of her efforts, she was not able to determine the fate of the bear because she "can't read arabic".

Furthermore there is no such thing as "Lorena" province in Iran -- likely it is "Lorestan" that is being referred to here (again, indicative of poor editing) - There have been many derivative articles that have now propagated the errors in this essay.

While I agree with the spirit of her essay , I find it unfortunate that seemingly educated people use their ignorance to spread falsehoods and streotypes such as suggesting that the Lori's might have ultimately killed the bear. In any case, I read an article on this incident, written by The Herald, which indicated that the bear was left alone and not "killed" by the Lori's, for taking a human child as its own. The Lori's are a nature-loving people that have co-existed with their natural surroundings for centuries.

In any case the official language of Iran is Persian (Parsi), which is of Indo-Iranian roots, unlike arabic which is Semetic. I thought this was fairly well known. I would appreciate it if this essay and its author and editors are corrected. ... Read more


53. A Message to Garcia
by E. Hubbard
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.99
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Asin: 0880884347
Catlog: Book (1982-02-01)
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press
Sales Rank: 36014
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A marvelous story about a man who went it alone and got it done.Translated into all languages, this story has become a model for success. ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars It's not Outdated
It's one of the most inspire book i ever read. I strongly believe it's not outdated even it was written long ago, in fact the clear message is very relevant in today world. I.e. Good manager give a clear Objective (E.g. Send a message to Garcia), and the person who is in-charge shouldn't giving excuse, no delay, and no "blaming why me". Ask question if there is any thing you need further clarification. (In Rowan's case, no) Then Figure it out on how to accomplish it.
Now day, there are too many people like to say this is not accomplishable and that's not workable without having a try, without even "a Think". Many are giving too much of excuses.

In addition, personally i think, this book is not only should be given by employer to employee, employer himself also should learn the lesson. I.e. One of the reason that Rowan can successfully deliver the message is because, His "employer", after given the objective, They fully delegate the task to Rowan, They did not care for the detail, They did not pretend to be smart to teach Roman on how to do it, They did not interfere, They trust Rowan, and give Rowan all the neccessary authority to make decision. Just imagine if all the important decision that Rowan make have to get approval first then only can respond. Do you think The Message can be successafully delivered?
I hope Employer also have to bear this in mind before blaming your employee for not that responsible and self-motivate as Rowan. Think first. Think do you really trust your staff, Think do they have all the neccessary authotiry to make decison, think that did you did your job good enough as a employer...?

Furthermore, ensure the Objective that you give is meaningful to your employee, let your employee have that kind of feeling of important. Sure when Rowan recieve the task, in his mind he would say this :" WOW, this seem chanllenging, this task is important, i must accomplish it otherwise we would lose the battle. And they are giving this such a important task to me, they trust me, I must do it RIGHT!"
Right?

Finally, Don't forget Positive feedback or recognising that President give to Rowan. Remember, People will only doing things for two main simplified reason, i.e. pain and pleasure. This also a part which should we learn. Off cause i doesn't mean Rowan doing all this just for his own pleasure, but at least it's a part of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars This brief story tells you exactly how to be excellent!
This is a lament that people cannot be counted on to get a job done. One man could; and he did deliver a message to Garcia, no matter what. The whole book was written in a matter of an hour or so and has sold tens of millions of copies. I have used it to inspire a weak employee and am considering giving it as a present to my best 150 clients.

3-0 out of 5 stars The virtue of submission--
In Hubbard's booklet lies the secret of service. It sounds simple, but so few people are able to swallow their giant egos to do it.

Using the true story of a messenger in the Spanish-American War as an example, Hubbard teaches this lesson: when a superior asks you to do something -- no matter how difficult or crazy or impossible it may sound -- just go get it done. Don't say anything; don't make any funny faces; don't look to others for help -- just go and do it.

In a society where authority is too often degraded, Hubbard's old-fashioned-radio-editorial-style essay reminds us that conformity can be good. I would qualify this by saying that any conformity should be conscientious conformity (you must not do something that goes against ethical principles).

To anyone really considering buying this really, really short, really, really over-priced book: you can find it online for really, really free.

5-0 out of 5 stars A reader from California misses the point
The message of Hubbard's commentary on Col. Rowan's mission is not to do what you are told without question, but to think for yourself. What Col. Rowan did was amazing. He was asked to carry a message from President McKinley to an insurgent leader in Cuba named Garcia. This was leading up to the Spanish-American War and Cuba was hostile territory. If captured, Rowan would be shot by the Spanish. What you now know about Rowan's mission is what he knew at the time he took it up. And he succeeded! Hubbard's lament is that all employees are not more like Col. Rowan.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but outdated
This is an interesting story, but times have changed since it was written. My manager at work gave this to all his employees a few years ago. As soon as I finished reading it, I decided to start looking for another job. When that manager gave us that book, whether he realized it or not, he was sending the message that he wanted us to just do what we were told and to stop thinking about what we were doing. That's not why I went to school.

Any reputable company should hire people who think for themselves, who ask questions and try to find ways to do more than what is expected of them. There are too many mindless automatons in this world already. Doing only what you're told without thinking about what you're doing is not the way to achieve success in life. ... Read more


54. Gilgamesh : A New English Version
by Stephen Mitchell
list price: $24.00
our price: $14.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 074326164X
Catlog: Book (2004-10-05)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 406
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Book Description

Gilgamesh is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature, and although previously there have been competent scholarly translations of it, until now there has not been a version that is a superlative literary text in its own right. Acclaimed translator Stephen Mitchell's lithe, muscular rendering allows us to enter an ancient masterpiece as if for the first time, to see how startlingly beautiful, intelligent, and alive it is. His insightful introduction provides a historical, spiritual, and cultural context for this ancient epic, showing that Gilgamesh is more potent and fascinating than ever.

Gilgamesh dates from as early as 1700 BCE -- a thousand years before the Iliad. Lost for almost two millennia, the eleven clay tablets on which the epic was inscribed were discovered in 1853 in the ruins of Nineveh, and the text was not deciphered and fully translated until the end of the century. When the great poet Rainer Maria Rilke first read Gilgamesh in 1916, he was awestruck. "Gilgamesh is stupendous," he wrote. "I consider it to be among the greatest things that can happen to a person."

The epic is the story of literature's first hero -- the king of Uruk in what is present-day Iraq -- and his journey of self-discovery. Along the way, Gilgamesh discovers that friendship can bring peace to a whole city, that a preemptive attack on a monster can have dire consequences, and that wisdom can be found only when the quest for it is abandoned. In giving voice to grief and the fear of death -- perhaps more powerfully than any book written after it -- in portraying love and vulnerability and the ego's hopeless striving for immortality, the epic has become a personal testimony for millions of readers in dozens of languages. ... Read more


55. The Inferno
by Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi, Dante Alighieri
list price: $5.95
our price: $5.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0451527984
Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
Publisher: Signet Book
Sales Rank: 44633
Average Customer Review: 4.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Considered to be one of the greatest literary works of all time- equal only to those of Shakespeare-Dante's immortal drama of a journey through Hell is the first volume of his Divine Comedy. The remaining canticles, The Purgatorio and The Paradiso, will be published this summer in quick succession. ... Read more

Reviews (82)

5-0 out of 5 stars Mandelbaum's translation of this poetic masterpiece soars
Dante Alighieri's three part epic The Divine Comedy ranks highly among the literature of the world. Written in early Italian and rhymed in terza rima, it's 100 cantos display impressive allegory and use of scholastic philosophy. In INFERNO, the first volume, the narrator finds himself "half of our life's way" (around 35 years old) and lost in a forest at night. When day breaks, three savage animals bar his escape. The Roman poet Virgil (best known for his AENEID) appears and tells him that Heaven has sent him to lead Dante through Hell, Purgatory, and finally Heaven to bring him out of his spiritual malaise.

Dante's Hell differs from the traditional view of everyone together amongst flames. Here the dead receive different punishments based on their sins. Thus, the lustful are caught up eternally in a whirlwind, and astrologers and magicians have their heads reversed (so those who tried to fortell the future can only see their past). Nowhere, however, does anything seem wrong. The dead are placed into Hell not by an unjust God, but by their own decisions and actions. INFERNO is a slow beginning, most of the grace and beauty of the Comedy lies in the subsequent volumes, PURGATORIO and PARADISO. However, this first volume has a solid role in the allegorical significance of the Comedy. Dante wrote not just a simple story of quasi-science fiction, but a moving allegory of the soul moving from perdition to salvation, the act which the poet T.S. Eliot called "Mounting the saint's stair". While INFERNO may occasionally lack excitement on the first reading, the next two volumes thrill and upon reading them one can enjoy INFERNO to the fullest.

I believe that the best translation of INFERNO to get is that of Allen Mandelbaum, which is published by Bantam (ISBN: 0553213393). Mandelbaum's verse translation melds a faithful rendering of the Italian with excellent poetry, and has been praised by numerous scholars of Dante, including Irma Brandeis. Here's an example from Canto XIII, where the poet and Virgil enter a forest where the trees are the souls of suicides:

"No green leaves in that forest, only black;
no branches straight and smooth, but knotted, gnarled;
no fruits were there, but briars bearing poison"

Mandelbaum's translation also contains an interesting introduction by Mandelbaum, extensive notes (which are based on the California Lectura Dantis), and two afterwords. The first of these, "Dante in His Age" is an enlightening biography of Dante and how he came to write the Comedy while in exile. The second "Dante as Ancient and Modern" examines Dante both as a wielder of classical knowledge and as a poet working in a new and distinctly late-Medieval style (the "dolce stil nuovo") which broke poetry out of the grip of Latin and made it something for people of every class.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Journey Through the Torment of Hell
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The "Inferno" is the first of three volumes of poet Dante Alighieri's (1265-1321) "Divine Comedy" (the other two volumes are Purgatory and Paradise). This volume (composed of thirty-four episodes) describes Hell and the suffering of the damned.

There is a historical introduction by Archibald MacAllister of Princeton. It's imperative to have a good understanding of Dante in order to understand his poetic masterpiece and MacAllister does a good job of detailing Dante and his times.

The late John Ciardi, former poet and professor at Harvard and Rutgers, translated (or more precisely transposed) this poem from its original 1300's Italian into English. He retains Dante's three line stanzas and there is still much rhyming. He not only relied on his own knowledge but leaned heavily on the knowledge of other scholars for his translation.

Dante's "Inferno" is a journey through the nooks and crannies of hell. Dante takes this incredible journey with his master and guide, Virgil. Along the way, Dante, Virgil, and the reader encounter such things as mythical creatures and people, legends, people of Dante's time, biblical figures, and human victims.

It is a narrative poem whose greatest strength lies in the fact that it does not so much narrate as dramatize its episodes. It is a visual work that sparks your imagination. This poem combines the five senses with fear, pity, horror, and other emotions to involve the reader. The result: the reader actually experiences Dante's situation and just does not read about them.

Ciardi's introductions in italics before each episode gives a brief summary of what to expect. His notes at the end of each episode highlight our understanding of key passages within each. For me, Ciardi's introductions and notes that accompany each episode are the cornerstone to understanding what Dante was attempting to convey.

Finally, there are illustrations in this book. These illustrations as a whole detail the nine circles (of ledges) of Hell. They further increased my understanding, and, as well, added another visual dimension to this poem.

In conclusion, if you want to experience Hell as seen through the eyes of a gifted poet, then read this book. Further, by reading this book, you will discover why this poem has endured popularity for seven centuries.

<=====>

5-0 out of 5 stars Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here...
"Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" reads an inscription above Hell's Gate. May be true for xians, but horror-loving Satanists will find this literature most stimulating, with the graphic descriptions of mutilated souls, perverse debaucheries, morbid environments, & imaginative demonic monsters. Many great great suggestions for the torture chambre as well!

Throughout the Gothic & Renaissance perionds, daemons of the Imagination creeped forth from the shadows of The Darkside of the mind like never before, thus producing some of the most compelling & attractive monsterpieces the world had ever had the misfortune or fortune to see, hear, & read.

It was this written work that really ingrained the standards for the popular depictions of Hades, as well as paintings by artists like Jon Von Eyck, Heironymous Bosch, Peter Breughel, & Albrecht Durer. In the musickal genre, Bach, Wagner, Beethoven, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, & Chopin, to name but a few, were realeasing tempestuous, monolithic, & eerie symphonies into the ether, which are now universally employed to set an eerie embiance.

In THE INFERNO, Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet, meets with a mysterious & etheric host named Virgil, who takes him down to witness the terrors of The Great Abyss, so it may be recorded, & that mankind may wish not to go there. Heavy-duty guilt-trip. Throughout the sick, gnarled, blood-soaked, & freezing crevasses of Dante's brain, there are brief, but memorable encounters with the damned souls.

There are seven {sic} circles in the first section of Hell, each populated by a different class of "sinners". On the way, we take a ride upon the back of a winged beast named Geryon, around a waterfall {nice to know there's water in Hell!}. The Ninth {of course} Circle is where Satan Himself is entrenched in the frozen lake Cocytus. The only escape from this abode of lost souls is by climbing down the devil's leg hairs {that's got to hurt}, which then leads to Purgatory. Obviously, this work was written at the height of the catholic church's oppression.

There have been rumours, that Dante was secretly commissioned by church papacy to write the book, to better gain control of the peasants, who were taken to revolting quite often. Dante, being a starving poet at the time, could not refuse the offer. Cleverly, Dante was at first reviled by the church, & threatened with ex-communication, but was vindicated when he demonstrated his loyalty to the church by writing 'El Paradiso', which deals with Dante's journeys in the wonderful mystical world of Heavenland. This clever technique has been used over & over again to enslave minds, turning the unwary catholic & xian zombies, who blindly give their rations away to church & state {which at the time, were one in the same}. By first guilt manipulating someone into fear, you render them vulnerable, & they seek salvation wherever they can get it. Conveniently, 'El Purgatorio' & 'El Paradiso' were published not too far apart from The Inferno, attaining an essential balance, that their distribution may keep the populace in line. Needless to say, these three opuses caused the simpletons to flock back to church in record numbers. The pope became very fat, very fast.

What I found most interesting about this abysmal field-trip, is that Dante's Hell is icey cold, instead of the typical scorching. That in itself makes it all less threatening.

Dante's Inferno is one of the most colorful books I have ever read. It is filled with such wonderfully elaborate words that manifest magnificently morbid spectacles of diabolic delight. Use your own filtration wisdom as far as any foolosophy is concerned.

5-0 out of 5 stars great translation, great notes
The Durling-Martinez edition is the one used in my college Dante class. Together with their translation of Purgatorio (their edition of Paradiso apparently still in progress), the two works have great endnotes for every canto of the poem, good appendices and Purgatorio has a series of 'intercantica' notes which refer the reader to all the parallels between the two works, so you don't have to remember that the Gates of Hell and the Gates of Purgatory are found in Canto 9 of their respective works.

I wrote this review because the top reviews for this edition were all in fact for other editions, and this one definately deserves its due. It may be more expensive than Mandelbaum's paperback, but its worth it. The print is larger, the language clearer, the notes more useful. Try it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two thumbs up
"The Inferno" as translated by John Ciardi was wonderful for a first time reader of the work. The introduction did a good job of setting up the background information of Dante's life, which played a big role in his writing of "The Inferno." The summaries before each canto also did an excellent job of preparing the reader for what each canto was about. What I especially liked were the notes at the end of each canto which were very helpful in clarifying some confusing terms or other historical references Dante made. "The Inferno" is already so well written, the notes by Ciardi just allow the reader to have a more informed reading of the book, which leads to a much fuller experience overall. ... Read more


56. The Blind Assassin : A Novel
by MARGARET ATWOOD
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 0385720955
Catlog: Book (2001-08-28)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 5679
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Blind Assassin opens with these simple, resonant words: "Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge." They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister's death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura?s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist. Brilliantly weaving together such seemingly disparate elements, Atwood creates a world of astonishing vision and unforgettable impact.
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Reviews (292)

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, engrossing story
This was my first Margaret Atwood book, and I loved it. I loved how the tale twisted and just when you thought you knew something, you discovered you didn't. I loved that it was three stories in one. The "science fiction" tale so many others failed to comprehend was brilliant. It was a parable applicable to the main characters. The love of the blind assassin for the maiden who was to be sacrificed....the maiden who really WAS sacrificed to save her father's company. The description of the sci-fi society and its parallels to the one in which the Chase sisters lived. It was more than just a sci-fi story, it was insight into the mindset of the man telling it and the mindset of the woman he told it to.

I read this book non-stop in two days and when I finished it, I was up half the night re-reading most of it. No, it doesn't spell every plot line out to you in black and white, but it does offer a challenge to the thinking reader, and that is what made it so interesting and provoking. The ending was clear...it became evident in the end who the mystery man and woman were, and I found the ending satisfying. I would recommend this book to anybody who loves a good story ...or two ...or three, and especially anyone who likes a plot that isn't spelled out in the first chapter.

4-0 out of 5 stars 2 Plots Featuring Blind Assassins, A Tale About 2 Authors
This is initially quite a confusing book to start and does require some effort on the reader's part to persist. The chapters which begin with a realistic narrative about two sisters are frequently interrupted by interspersed chapters relating a bizarre science fiction tale. Flashbacks and foreshadowing add to the confusion. Persistence becomes rewarding when a third narrative links the two seemingly unrelated plots in a clever and unexpected fashion. The reader's interest and the novel's pace pick up. There are several more surprising plot twists and the truth is eventually, but only gradually, revealed.

The author's skill at interweaving these plots, her keen insights and observations, and her polished literary style and masterful use of language, which at times flows almost poetically , all add to the effect of the whole- which is truly the sum of its parts .The characters are interesting and well developed even if they are flawed and not very likable.

This novel is more intricate, more difficult and longer reading material, than many of Margaret Atwood's other novels such as Robber Bride or Cat's Eye,. Try those for easier reading and much faster moving storylines. This is, however, a very unusual and a very creative work, well worth the reader's time and effort. The divison into small chapters helps and it actually makes this book a good choice for bedtime reading.

I agree with other reviewers that there are indeed analogies between the two plots involving the sci fi mute sacrificial maiden rescued by a blind assassin and the sister forced to marry as an arranged business deal. I would add that there are also really two characters which fit the title of "blind assassin,"- one real and one figurative .

2-0 out of 5 stars Long, Long, and needs an editor
I listened to this on cassette tape. After the first three tapes I realized that the author was telling a story from the first person way too much. There is a rule in writing good fiction, show not tell. She had to tell a lot since it was first person, but she could have did more showing to make it more interesting.

After the third tape, I resolved to listen to the last tape, number eleven, and then pick back up with number four. This was to see if she was going anywhere. She wasn't. I found out that the other tapes were essentially useless. I missed a little plot development, but not much. I'm not going to listen to the other tapes.

A good editor would have told her to cut this novel in half, then it might have kept the readers attention.

On the plus side, she's a good writer with a good style. I might pick up another of her novels and try again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous Journey
The size of this book did intimidate me at first, along with a few of the synopses I had read: a story within a story within a story, etc. Little did I know at the time that I would finish the novel in less than a week, it was so captivating from start to finish.

I had never read Margaret Atwood before, and I picked this up when I decided to read recent recipients of the Booker Prize. Within the first 100 pages, I was recommending it to friends. Don't be off-put by the size or what you've read about the "complex" arrangment - the narrative flows easily and you will not have trouble following the various plots. The storylines all ultimately entertwine in such a way that will leave you breathless, thinking about the incredible ways that memory, fiction, non-fiction, and memoirs blend together to create a masterpiece of experience.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating novel, Imaginative in words
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is one of her best books. It has two parts to it, the real and the imaginary. Both of them are enchanting. The imaginary is haunting and transports you to a different world where children working on carpets with fine thread become blind due to straining their eyes too much and use their senses to commit crimes. It describes in detail the planet of Zycron and the city of Sakiel-Norn. Reading it, one can picture oneself out there. It has elements of the past such as Persian empire and the future thrown into it.

The real world is also equally scary. Laura publishes a novel and then commit suicide, but her brother-in-law was for the Nazis before the war. She manages to destroy him, though he tries his best to hold her down. The plot is involved, and intricate but put together beautifully and is enchanting. As in Cat's Eye, this is a book that has elements of fantasy, villany, wit, sci-fi thriller all packed in delicious proportion. Atwood is an outstanding author and captivates the audience with her style of writing and her way of depicting situations is unique. One must not miss this book, it is too magical. It deserves all the praise that it got. ... Read more


57. The Riverside Chaucer
by Geoffrey Chaucer, Larry D. Benson
list price: $80.36
our price: $79.56
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Asin: 0395290317
Catlog: Book (1987-02-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Sales Rank: 20989
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading
Riverside 3 has all of Chaucer's major poems and two major prose works, a translation of Boethius and the Treatise on the Astrolabe, in Middle English. In addition to these, it includes several (relatively) short lyrics, some of doubtful authorship, and a Middle English translation of the (French) Romance of the Rose, done partly by Chaucer.

Spelling and punctuation have been regularized throughout, to make the poems more accessible. The insertion of commas is often dubious (for instance, in the Envoy to the Clerk's Tale, "lat him care and wepe and wrynge and waille" becomes "lat hym care, and wepe, and wrynge, and waille" for no evident reason) but maybe that's inevitable. If one is very particular one can always look up the textual notes.

The bottom-of-page glosses and explanatory notes could be better; there are several passages that an inexperienced reader of Middle English might find difficult but that are not explained in either place. The notes on mythological references etc. are more consistently helpful. The Introduction is all right with grammar/pronunciation, but could be more thorough. The glossary takes a little getting used to, because not all variants are considered (esp. i and vowel y are treated as the same letter), but is pretty good once you get used to it. You don't need to use it very often because the obviously difficult words are glossed at the bottom of the page.

The poetry, of course, is as good as it gets, and also very entertaining. Chaucer's range of styles is particularly amazing.

And as in winter leves been biraft,
Eche after other, til the tree be bare,
So that ther nis but bark and braunche y-laft,
Lyth Troilus, biraft of ech wel-fare,
Y-bounden in the blake bark of care.
-- Troilus and Criseyde Bk IV

He stoupeth doun, and on his bak she stood,
And caughte hire by a twiste, and up she gooth -
Ladyes, I prey yow that ye be nat wrooth;
I kan nat glose, I am a rude man -
And sodeynly anon this Damyan
Gan pullen up the smok, and in he throng.
-- The Merchant's Tale

"What is this world? What asketh men to have?
Now with his love, now in his colde grave,
Allone, withouten any compaignye."
-- The Knight's Tale

5-0 out of 5 stars Your Pilgrimage Stops Here
Anyone with any claim to an interest in Chaucer MUST read this book - translations just can't convey the subtleties of his wit. Besides, once you get the hang of it, (admittedly despite being over a ninety-foot drop in places), Middle English isn't that hard. Try reading the original Beowulf - the Wife of Bath's tale will make you weep with relief. This edition is THE definitive Chaucer, as all the scholars will tell you, but it's also the most reader-friendly, with both glosses at the bottom of each page and a full index at the back. This collection of stories is a thousand times funnier, smarter and subtler than anything out of Hollywood, and although written over six hundred years ago, containing fairies, sorcerers and talking animals, are somewhat more reflective of real society. I just hope James Cameron never finds out about them...:-)

5-0 out of 5 stars forget the canterbury tales
If it hadn't bee for this book, I wouldn't have been introduced to the awesome shorter works of Chaucer. I would have only associated him with the tired Tales of which he is so renowned.

5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable new edition...
The Riverside Chaucer has managed to do the impossible- preserve the pristine vigor of the original texts, while providing informative glosses for those readers unfamiliar with Middle English. I have read several editions of Chaucer's various works, both in the original dialect, and in translation, and this is by far the best text available for both the casual reader who wishes to appreciate the vitality of the author's repertoire, and the serious student of literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why read Chaucer?
Why read Chaucer? Well, in the first place for the beauty and masculine vigor of his English, an English one soon catches on to after a bit of practice. Why else? Well, because Chaucer was intensely human and his stories are interesting, and either truly poignant or richly comic and sometimes even both. Also for the rich gallery of unforgettable human types his stories bring before us, types such as:

The rejected Griselda - 'Lat me nat lyk a worm go by the weye;' the frisky Alisoun - ''Tehee!' quod she, and clapte the wyndow to;' the amorous Wife of Bath - 'Allas! Allas! that evere love was synne!', the scurvy Pardoner - 'Of avarice, and of swich cursednesse / Is al my prechyng, for to make hem free / To yeven hir pens, and namely unto me', and a host of others both high and low, noble and despicable, lovable and contemptible.

Of course, Chaucer isn't for everyone. Those with no feeling for his language and no sense of humor, and whose own humanity is not their strongest point, may lack what is needed to appreciate Chaucer at his true worth.

The present edition is a mammoth volume of 1327 pages which includes the complete and newly edited texts of everything Chaucer wrote - The Canterbury Tales, The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, Anelida and Arcite, The Parliament of Fowls, Boece, Troilus and Criseyde, The Legend of Good Women, The Short Poems, A Treatise on the Astrolabe, The Romaunt of the Rose. Brief language glosses are given at the foot of each page, while fuller Notes are found at the end of the book.

Unfortunately the lines of the texts are numbered in the conventional way - 10, 20, 30, etc. - instead of having numbers occur _only_ at the end of lines which have been glossed or given Notes - e.g., 9, 12, 16, 18, 32. Such conventional numbering involves readers in the tedious and time-wasting hassle of line counting, and the equally time-wasting frustration of searching through notes only to find that no note exists.

The book also includes a full Introduction (Chaucers' Life, The Canon and Chronology of Chaucer's Works, Language and Versification, The Texts), a General Bibliography, 300 pages of Explanatory Notes, 100 pages of Textual Notes, an extremely detailed 100-page Glossary, and an Index of Proper Names.

Despite the many helps provided by the editors, and since the needs of readers are insatiable, no-one is going to find everything they would like to find. A complete text of this nature is best considered as one for the beginning student; scholarly texts of individual works are going to be needed by anyone who wishes to go deeper, and the Bibliography is there as a guide for those wishing to explore critical and other issues in greater depth.

But in the presence of so much scholarship, there is a danger of forgetting that so much of Chaucer's power is in the sheer music of his lines. Those new to Chaucer would be well advised to learn how to read Middle English _aloud_ as soon as possible by listening to one of the many excellent recordings. If they were to do this they'd soon find their pleasure in Chaucer magnified enormously.

Robert Burton, in his Anatomy of Melancholy,' points out that 'when a thing has once been done, people think it easy; when the road is made, they forget how rough the way used to be.' All those who love Chaucer are indebted to the editors of the present volume for having smoothed our way towards a fuller appreciation of the work of a truly marvelous poet. ... Read more


58. Blinking with Fists
by Billy Corgan
list price: $18.00
our price: $12.24
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Asin: 0571211895
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Sales Rank: 2239
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Book Description

the river runs south/thru barrios and ghettoes and starched neighborhood squares
and everywhere the dogs howl
I don’t even trust the sound of my own voice here
my own impermanence haunts me, but this thought alone relieves the pressure
from the mirror to the gutter, gutter tongued
my heart speaks to the silence in me
let me walk alone/home
as the dead stoplights wave goodnight
—from "The River Runs Foul"

Having risen to fame during the grunge era in the early 90s, Billy Corgan is among the most respected figures of the alternative rock world—a visionary artist who, over a decade later, still commands a devoted following.

Long admired for his evocative songwriting, Corgan here embarks on a deeper exploration of literary terrain as a poet. Full of “the regretful melancholy of his music [and] the rhythmic, angular wordplay of his best Pumpkins lyrics" (Jeff Vrabel, Chicago Sun-Times), the poems in this collection form an imagistic journey through the intensely personal as Corgan throws into sharp relief issues of love, loss, identity, and loyalty. Crafted with a thoughtful and cadenced approach that shares the same allegiance to thunder and quiet found in his music, these writings further solidify Corgan’s place as the voice of a generation.
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59. Where Shall I Wander : New Poems
by John Ashbery
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0060765291
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Ecco
Sales Rank: 124554
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60. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Sir Orfeo
by J.R.R. Tolkien
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0345277600
Catlog: Book (1988-07)
Publisher: Del Rey
Sales Rank: 13283
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, PEARL, and SIR ORFEO are masterpieces of a remote and exotic age--the age of chivalry and wizards, knights and holy quests. Yet it is only in the unique artistry and imagination of J.R.R. Tolken that the language, romance, and power of these great stories comes to life for modern readers, in this masterful and compelling new translation.
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best
J.R.R. Tolkien is best known as a fantasy writer. But his lesser-known profession was that of an professor and linguist, working at Oxford for over three decade. These three translated poems are excellent examples of his non-Middle-Earth work.

"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" is a relatively little-known Arthurian legend, in which the knight Sir Gawain must forfeit his life to a knight who allowed Gawain to behead him -- then picked up his head and rode out. "Pearl" is a beautifully written, though somewhat more difficult to read, poem that chronicles the death of a child (possibly allegorical). "Sir Orfeo" is a version of the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Tolkien's method for these works is unusually readable -- most translators sacrifice either readability or meaning; as far as I can tell, Tolkien sacrificed neither. "Sir Gawain" is probably the easiest translation I have come across; "Pearl" is haunting, laced with religious references, and very beautifully written; "Orfeo" is not so substantial as the first two, but still entertaining. It's a bit like a medieval ballad.

This book is not so much for fans of Middle-Earth, as for fans of all Tolkien's works. Beautifully written, highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars supreme translations
Before he was known as the writer of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien was an acclaimed translator, a deeply scholarly philologist, and a professor of the same at Oxford University. His love for language and his proficiency with Old English dialects is nowhere more evident than in these translations. The beautiful prose and poetry that flows easily from the lips will intrigue and delight even the lay reader. The accuracy and brilliance with which Tolkien sets down these words will make a fan out of any scholar. All told, these aren't of the same stock as Tolkien's fantasy novels, but they are a great find for scholars, Tolkien fans, and anyone else for that matter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pearl of Wisdom
Gawain is the Tolekin translation of one of many versions of the story. The story is exciting but ultimately disappointing because of the incongruence of the ending with the opening. The opening indicates that King Arthur is all too aware of the false beheading trick being played in his court as he primes the action for the hapless Gawain. The ending indicates the Green Man alone instigated the trick with Morgan le Fay. The point missed by Tolkein (jnr) in the Introduction is that the brocade is the sole tangible due to the green man in the exchange of acquisitions, so a real dishonour. Anyway Camelot' s self advertised mythology is well and truly pricked.
Pearl, on the other hand is a true medaeval pagan gem, arguing that religion is the exploitation of bereavement. Religion claims the deceased for heaven; it offers reunion to the survivor conditional on temporal faith. If the departed is beloved of a survivor then that cat runs headlong into the priest' s bag with little prompting. The poet becomes so seduced by the vision of the New Jerusalem he comes to see his former reason as madness and so went the world.
The strength of Christian theology surely developed from these kinds of rational resistence. Ultimetely reason conquered and theology relapsed to a dogmatic statement of faith in the shape of pearl (Aquinas). A great and thoroughly authentic work of transitional pagan genius saved by Tolkein.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great ME text
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of the most famous Middle English works. This edition contains NOT Tolkien's TRANSLATION, but the original MIDDLE ENGLISH TEXT with his (and late prof. E.V. Gordon's) glossary and notes.
Their edition was published in 1925, and revised by Norman Dabis in 1967. It still remains the most authoritative and standard text. I strongly suggest that students who study this alliterative poem buy this great Middle English text. The language is quite difficult so you also need Tolkien's Present Day English translation version (on HarperCollins, Ballantine Books,etc).

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Metrical Translations in English
Between Tolkien's legendarium and scholarship fall his translations, which are by far the most regularly metrical translations in English. "Sir Gawain" includes 101 laisses or verse paragraphs of varying length, head-rhymed on the head-stave, each with an end-rhymed bob-and-wheel refrain; "Pearl" includes 101 12-line stanzas with regular (alternating) end-rhymes in addition to the head-rhymes, plus stanza-linking rhymes. Not even Professor Lehmann's Beowulf includes 101 bob-&-wheel refrains.

Tolkien's international reputation as a scholar began with his revival of "Sir Gawain" in the early '20s, and he developed these translations over the course of some 50 years. Scholarly consensus has held that "Sir Gawain" and "Pearl," the masterworks of the 14th-century Middle English alliterative-stave revival (standing in relation to Chaucer as Marlowe to Shakespeare), were composed by a West Midlands author whose name has not survived, the authentically bereaved father of the "Pearl" herself. Tolkien's "Gawain" lecture (published in The Monsters and the Critics) enlarges very helpfully on the early-'50s radio preface included in this volume.

"Sir Orfeo" is a mere frippery by comparison, in stichic ballad couplets, but probably originated as a single-author work as well. Admittedly there are more authoritative sources on the Classical myth of Orpheus and Eurydice than "Sir Orfeo," but that's part of the point: the Classical elements in these translations are real-life analogues of elvish/dwarvish influence in hobbit poetry.

Another translation of "Sir Gawain" had been added to the Oxford Anthology of English Literature by the time Tolkien's became the first posthumous edition released by his youngest son, and Tolkien's will probably replace the current translation at some point during the 21st century. Tolkien has been taken to task for failing to complete a proof that "Sir Gawain" is a single-author work (which he might conceivably have done, considering his 1934 achievement with Chaucer's "Reeve"), but his translation answers eminence with eloquence even so.

These works reflect a vibrant tradition of storytelling and minstrelsy, and the best way to read them would be to read each canto/stanza/couplet twice, once silently and once aloud; to which approach the prose paragraphs would recommend themselves as well. Tolkien's translations are associable with his other scholarly hobbies, including calligraphy, drawings and theatrical performances as well as prose fiction. Admirers of the verses in The Lord of the Rings will most likely find these translations well worth the substantially larger effort. ... Read more


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