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    $11.53 $10.42 list($16.95)
    1. Teaching with Fire: Poetry That
    $10.20 $10.05 list($15.00)
    2. Delights and Shadows
    $16.29 $15.80 list($23.95)
    3. The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects
    $14.28 $12.87 list($21.00)
    4. The Rose That Grew From Concrete
    $18.15 list($27.50)
    5. Slouching Toward Nirvana : New
    $12.89 $12.45 list($18.95)
    6. The Moments, the Minutes, the
    $10.37 $9.90 list($15.95)
    7. The Iliad (Penguin Classics)
    $8.95 $6.27 list($9.95)
    8. Letters to a Young Poet
    $22.05 list($35.00)
    9. Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950
    $13.57 $11.99 list($19.95)
    10. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
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    11. The Melancholy Death of Oyster
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    12. Refusing Heaven
    13. The Norton Anthology of Poetry,
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    14. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
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    15. Sailing Alone Around the Room
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    16. The Inferno
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    17. Perrine's Sound and Sense : An
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    18. Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
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    19. In the Palm of Your Hand:The Poet's
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    20. The Divine Comedy: The Inferno/the

    1. Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach
    by Parker J. Palmer, Tom Vander Ark
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0787969702
    Catlog: Book (2003-10-03)
    Publisher: Jossey-Bass
    Sales Rank: 8788
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Reclaim Your Fire

    "Teaching with Fire is a glorious collection of the poetry that has restored the faith of teachers in the highest, most transcendent values of their work with children....Those who want us to believe that teaching is a technocratic and robotic skill devoid of art or joy or beauty need to read this powerful collection. So, for that matter, do we all."
    –Jonathan Kozol, author of Amazing Grace and Savage Inequalities

    "When reasoned argument fails, poetry helps us make sense of life. A few well-chosen images, the spinning together of words creates a way of seeing where we came from and lights up possibilities for where we might be going....Dip in, read, and ponder; share with others. It's inspiration in the very best sense."
    –Deborah Meier, co-principal of The Mission Hill School, Boston and founder of a network of schools in East Harlem, New York

    "In the Confucian tradition it is said that the mark of a golden era is that children are the most important members of the society and teaching is the most revered profession. Our jour ney to that ideal may be a long one, but it is books like this that will sustain us - for who are we all at our best save teachers, and who matters more to us than the children?"
    –Peter M. Senge, founding chair, SoL (Society for Organizational Learning) and author of The Fifth Discipline

    Those of us who care about the young and their education must find ways to remember what teaching and learning are really about. We must find ways to keep our hearts alive as we serve our students. Poetry has the power to keep us vital and focused on what really matters in life and in schooling. Teaching with Fire is a wonderful collection of eighty-eight poems from such well-loved poets as Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, and Pablo Neruda. Each of these evocative poems is accompanied by a brief story from a teacher explaining the significance of the poem in his or her life's work. This beautiful book also includes an essay that describes how poetry can be used to grow both personally and professionally.

    Teaching With Fire was written in partnership with the Center for Teacher Formation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Royalties from this book will be used to fund scholarship opportunities for teachers to grow and learn. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A companion for teachers
    I begin by acknowledging that I am both a fan of poetry and a fan of the work of Parker Palmer, whose writings spawned the Courage to Teach retreats for teachers that take place across the country. The poets included in this volume are among my favorite including Rumi, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Rilke, and many more. The book includes a section wtih ideas on how to use poetry in all kinds of settings, not just schools. I also know some of the teachers who contributed to this book. These are real people who do some of the most important work there is to do--teaching--and who are as a group underappreciated. When I read these poems and the moving words of the teachers who selected the poems, I feel like I am entering into sacred territory. There are many moments in this book illuminating the terrain of a teacher's work and a teacher's soul. Poetry speaks to the heart, and the use of poetry for our own renewal is what this collecton is about. I highly recommend it, and I know most teachers and parents of school age children would love this as a gift.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Gift That Keeps Giving
    This collection of poetry will keep on giving to anyone interested in the power of poetry to sustain and inspire or in the fragile and humane work of teaching. At first I read it cover to cover. Since I've been called back many times to certain poems or stories. Each poem is accompanied by a short story about what the particular poem has meant to the teacher who submitted it. Sometimes it's hard to tell which is more powerful--the poem or the teacher's story. In this little volume lie the seeds of true school reform! Read it and pass it on.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Words to Inspire Those Who Teach & Learn
    This fine collection of 88 poems introduced by the educators who submitted them gives readers a new appreciation for the power poetry can provide to those who teach as well as those who learn. Though all these poems may not be new to you, the deeply-felt reflections on the opposite pages will give you a new appreciation for them.

    Editors Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner weaved together these well-known poets with everyday educators so readers can take inspiration on any given page without a sequential read-through. Or, by choosing a section such as "Holding On," one can select Rubin Alves' poem "Tomorrow's Child" and take heart and courage from the commentary by Sarah Smith, academic director of Rainier Scholars in the state of Washington. "I met this poem with the heaviest of hearts, a depleted spirit, a feeling that I was failing myself and my own personal mission." And later, "I recommitted myself to the work. I reclaimed my hope and belief in the notion that education could truly be the great equalizer."

    Although I'm not a teacher, I am a life-long learner and encouraged that such a book is available to help support and restore the faith of the people we put in charge of our childrens' education. Nothing could be more important or more vital.

    5-0 out of 5 stars All my FAVORITE POEMS!!!!!
    I've long loved poetry, but have struggled to use it successfully in the classroom. This book is absolutely PERFECT for me! First of all, it has poems from my favorite poets like Rilke, Marge Piercy, Mary Oliver, Annie Dillard, Billy Collins, Anne Sexton, and a whole bunch of others. And then there's wonderful poetry by authors I didn't know until now. I'm always delighted to find a new poet!

    But the icing on the cake? The short introductions to each poem, each written by a different teacher. The one that really spoke to me was the teacher who taught "There But for the Grace" by Wislawa Szymborska on Sept. 12, 2001. It really shows the power of poetry in students' lives! ... Read more

    2. Delights and Shadows
    by Ted Kooser
    list price: $15.00
    our price: $10.20
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1556592019
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-15)
    Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
    Sales Rank: 2312
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    Book Description

    Ted Kooser is a master of metaphor, a poet who deftly connects disparate elements of the world and communicates with absolute precision. Critics call him a "haiku-like imagist" and his poems have been compared to Chekov's short stories. In Delights and Shadows, Kooser draws inspiration from the overlooked details of daily life. Quotidian objects like a pegboard, creamed corn and a forgotten salesman's trophy help reveal the remarkable in what before was a merely ordinary world.

    "Kooser documents the dignities, habits and small griefs of daily life, our hunger for connection, our struggle to find balance."-Poetry

    Ted Kooser is the author of eight collections of poems and a prose memoir. He lives on a small farm in rural Nebraska.

    ... Read more

    3. The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden
    by Stanley Kunitz, GENINE LENTINE
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $16.29
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393061418
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 1223
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    Book Description

    From his celebrated seaside garden, a beloved poet-in his one-hundredth year-speaks about life, poetry, and the kindred spirit in all living things.

    Throughout his life Stanley Kunitz has been creating poetry and tending gardens. This book is the distillation of conversations—none previously published—that took place between 2002 and 2004. Beginning with the garden, that "work of the imagination," the explorations journey through personal recollections, the creative process, and the harmony of the life cycle. A bouquet of poems and a total of twenty-six full-color photographs accompany the various sections.

    In the spring of 2003, Kunitz experienced a mysterious health crisis from which, miraculously, he emerged in what he called a "transformed state." During this period, his vision of the garden-constant source of solace and renewal-propelled him. The intimate, often witty conversations that followed this time are presented here in their entirety, as transcribed. Their central themes, circling mortality and regeneration, attest to Kunitz's ever-present sagacity and wit. "Immortality," he answers when asked. "It's not anything I'd lose sleep over." 26 color photographs. ... Read more

    4. The Rose That Grew From Concrete
    by Tupac Shakur
    list price: $21.00
    our price: $14.28
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0671028448
    Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
    Publisher: MTV
    Sales Rank: 2483
    Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    His talent was unbounded, a raw force that commanded attention and respect.

    His death was tragic -- a violent homage to the power of his voice.

    His legacy is indomitable -- remaining vibrant and alive.

    Here now, newly discovered, are Tupac's most honest and intimate thoughts conveyed through the pure art of poetry -- a mirror into his enigmatic life and its many contradictions.

    Written in his own hand at the age of nineteen, they embrace his spirit, his energy...and his ultimate message of hope. ... Read more

    Reviews (137)

    5-0 out of 5 stars See The World Through The Eyes of a Great Man
    "The Rose That Grew From Concrete" is an amazing collection of poetry by Tupac Shukur. The poems let you go deep in his mind and see a side of Tupac that most people have never seen. As you read his poems you start to realize how he truly feels and what messages he wants to get across. You also see the pain and obstacles in his life that he had to overcome. Some people listen to Tupac's music and just hear the negative and the cussing. Not understanding that you have to know the negative to see and understand the positive. Some people see Tupac's music as a bad influence, because they don't listen to all the words to get the real message. This collection of poems is a great way to understand Tupac's life and to receive his true message, to end crime and to stop the hate. This collection of poems has had a great influence on my life and the way I look at the world. I think that everyone who reads this book can relate to Tupac in some way and I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of poetry about life and of course to anyone who loves Tupac.

    5-0 out of 5 stars His Legend Lives On
    Tupac Shakur's collection of poetry is as dynamic as his life and songs. Tupac has touched on many subjects that cross the racial barriers in his book. He seems a young man full of hope and promise. The gangster mentality is almost nonexistent in The Rose That Grew From Concrete. His thoughts on love and relationships are wonderul and moving. Even his poem about death is insightful. Some of the poetry really touched my soul. I have been a Tupac fan for many years and when I saw the book in the store, I immediately started reading. The poems are compelling and remind me of his life. I couldn't wait to share The Rose That Grew From Concrete with my family and friends. If you love poetry and the African American culture than this is a book to add to your collection.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful teaching tool!!!
    I am a middle school English teacher who uses this collection when teaching a poetry unit. While most of Tupac's writing is rough and unedited, it shows students that poetry is a beautiful way to express ideas and emotions. Young people are so full of passion and idealism. Someone as famous as Tupac started off similar to them... Small with bigs dreams and a hunger for growing up and changing the world. It's not so much about rap but about the art of lyrical poetry. My students find it fascinating and inspiring.

    1-0 out of 5 stars sorry to say this
    all the stuff from this book is from when he wasn't famous yet. he didn't have anything to say back then. he was a very profound person but i wasn't compelled with anything he said until he started looking at political issues and crimes and society in his raps. When he was in his late teens and early 20's and had to deal with the corruptions of society, that was when he had interesting, even brilliant things to say. But, not before. I'm a big Tupac fan, but this wasn't worth it. He just talks about love and it's cheesy and the rhymes aren't very well done. Get stuff from his more recent times to really understand his character.

    5-0 out of 5 stars tupac shakur in the hearts of his fans
    This book is full of feelings towards love and full of anger towards the government and against politics. His best poetry was written through his expressions and feelings. This book could relate to the way you feel about something during that period of time. The right words are put together to express what you feel within. Tupac was a great poet who was with respect by the society he wrote what he felt, not what people wanted to hear. ... Read more

    5. Slouching Toward Nirvana : New Poems
    by Charles Bukowski
    list price: $27.50
    our price: $18.15
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060577037
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 55657
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    Book Description

    Charles Bukowski is one of America's best-known contemporary writers of poetry and prose, and, many would claim, its most influential and imitated poet. He was born in Andernach, Germany, to an American soldier father and a German mother in 1920, and brought to the United States at the age of three. He was raised in Los Angeles and lived there for fifty years. He published his first story in 1944 when he was twenty-four and began writing poetry at the age of thirty-five. He died in San Pedro, California, on March 9, 1994, at the age of seventy-three, shortly after completing his last novel, Pulp (1994).

    During his lifetime Bukowski published more than forty-five books of poetry and prose, including the novels Post Office (1971), Factotum (1975), Women (1978), Ham on Rye (1982), and Hollywood (1989). Among his most recent books are the posthumous editions of What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire: New Poems (1999), Open All Night: New Poems (2000), The Night Torn Mad with Footsteps: New Poems (2001), Sifting through the madness for the Word, the line, the way: New Poems (2003), and The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain: New Poems (2004).

    All of his books have now been published in translation in more than a dozen languages, and his worldwide popularity remains undiminished. In the years to come Ecco will publish additional volumes of previously uncollected poetry and prose.

    ... Read more

    6. The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours : The Poetry of Jill Scott
    by Jill Scott
    list price: $18.95
    our price: $12.89
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 031232961X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Sales Rank: 3195
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Writing poems and keeping journal since 1991, Jill Scott now shares her personal poetry collection in The Moments, the Minutes, the Hours.Praised for her earthy, honestly erotic, soulful and very real lyrics, Jill Scott explores all the flavors of life, love, and self.

    Of her music, Jill offers: "It's music.It's experiences. It's vulnerability.It's honesty.It's being a woman---an African American woman.Being a daughter, a sister, a grandchild and a Godmother.It's life.It's deeper than what I know.It's bigger than what I can see. I guess it's a dive into the human spirit."And the same will come forth in this never- before-seen collection of her poetry.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Honesty is Beautiful
    I first fell in love with Jill Scott as an artist when I heard her song, "Love", laden with DC's go-go rhythms from her first album "Who is Jill Scott?" I have to say I've fallen in love with her all over again with her debut book of poetry.

    Poetry is alot things, but what is poetry if it's not honest? Mrs. Scott is as real as they come. Her spirit jumps from the pages and permeates the reader's most intimate places. And whether that place is gray and blue or yellow and sunny, you always end up smiling anyway. She is "beautifully human" and makes you feel safe being human right along with her.

    I recommend this book to those of us who don't have it all figured out just yet. You're human. Let Jill's words hold you.

    I recommend this book to those of us who believe we've figured it all out. You'll learn life has so many more lessons to teach and is so much more than we could ever confine in a box.

    Life is in this lady from North Philly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars So Nice Say It Twice
    The reflections of her mind are beautiful.I KNEW as soon as I got word of the book it would be a must read to hold and keep.Therefore I recommend that you take the time to read and re-read the pages, there's something for everyone.As with the motion of water her words will move you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Clear expectations
    I bought this book probably hoping to read more poetry like what was shared in the spaces on her first album and her live album - knowing of course of Mrs. Scott's history as a spokenword artist. I was surprised to find alot of poetry spanning her entire history - works from when she was a young girl to current peices. people who say they found the work repetitive, I assume sat and read the book from to back, and in my personal opinion that is no way to read poetry books, especially when all the works are from one artist. Read specific pieces, things that draw you from the table of contents and be pulled by Mrs. Scott's ablility to paint with words. She has range and it is shown through the different sections of the book. She addresses life and it is not difficult to understand, not difficult to hold on to, not difficult to move with her poems - Much like her music. she is definately a poet and I pray she is not grouped into that lump of artists (t-boz, ashanti {I haven't read Alicia Keys work to say}) who release journal entries and unpracticed works because they can. Jill Scott's poetry asks to be read and I look forward to her next collection so I can do it again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars No suprise, Jill Scott's poetry is beautifully lyrical.
    If you love the music of Jill Scott for its beautifully personal and uplifting content, you'll simply devour these nearly 150 pages of her poems.

    Jill has often said that she's kept written journals for years.As many of Jill's song lyrics read like poems to me (and I dearly love them), I was not surprised to find myself deeply engrossed in Jill's accounts of life and love in this compilation.

    Jill's writings unapologetically hold love up and examine, admire and venerate it. Her poems also touch on issues of friendship and family.

    I've known since I heard the first song from her very first album that Jill was not just another singer, but a poet who happens to possess and beautiful voice and undeniable music talent. Now she is not only an accomplished poet, but a published one.It speaks so highly of her talent and her very nature that the likes of Sonia Sanchez and Maya Angelou have recognized the power of her gift and her loving, intelligent spirit.

    Never a big fan of audio books, I'm dying for the audio version of this collection!!!

    2-0 out of 5 stars just Ok
    I think Jill scott is Talented but much like Her Music this Poetry book is so predictable. nothing ever changes with her.funny how most songwriters Poetry Books are just average&this is the latest in that Line to me. ... Read more

    7. The Iliad (Penguin Classics)
    by Homer, Robert Fagles, Bernard MacGregor Walker Knox
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $10.37
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140275363
    Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 3511
    Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    This timeless poem-more than 2,700 year old-still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amid devastation and destruction as it moves inexorably to its wrenching, tragic conclusion. Readers of this epic poem will be gripped by the finely tuned translation and enlightening introduction.

    Translated by Robert Fagles
    Introduction and Notes by Bernard
    ... Read more

    Reviews (86)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fagles Does It Again
    I have read several versions of the Iliad (both poetic and prose) and this version translated by Robert Fagles is the best I've read. Fagles has such an ability to translate the classics (as he has done with the Odyssey and the Theban Plays of Sophocles) so that they are readable to the modern English reader while still maintaining the lyricism of poetry. I'm also a sucker for introductions, glossaries, and translation notes and this edition has excellent versions of all three. While I would have liked even more notes to explain some of the myth references within the Iliad, the ones that are there are very explanatory. Bernard Knox (who also wrote the Notes) delivers a very erudite introduction that puts the "rage of Achilles" into context and gives an enlightening view of the humanity of the Gods who appear within. Highly recommended to those who want to get in touch with their Ancient Greek side.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A readable Iliad in modern idiom
    Robert Fagles's translation of Homer's Iliad is spiritually if not literally true to the original. Both versions repeat set speeches and descriptions in precisely the same words, and the translation exhibits a fairly regular rhythmic beat. But Homer's Greek was chanted, and the set passages were like refrains in which listeners could, if they chose, join in as a chorus. In English, the repetitions sometimes become tedious, especially when the same speech is given three times in two pages, as in the relay of Zeus's orders in Book II. Especially noteworthy is Bernard Knox's long and fascinating Introduction, a masterpiece of literary criticism and scholarship which conveys Homer's grim attitude toward war, the interplay of divine and human will, and the ancient concepts of honor, courage, and virility in the face of the stark finality of death. Knox also includes a succinct explanation of the quantitative, rather than accentual, basis of Greek (and Latin) verse. For easy readability, Fagles's translation is without rival. For elegance and poetry, however, I recommend Richmond Lattimore's older but still gripping and fluent translation.

    1-0 out of 5 stars worthless
    this book leads to two things:

    a waste of time

    a waste of money

    3-0 out of 5 stars Something in excess.....
    Admittedly, the Fagles translation of The Iliad is not the version I am reviewing. Mine was a prose translation, by Samuel Butler, of 'The Way of All Flesh' fame.....and the words inscribed in the Temple of Apollo, 'Nothing in Excess' came to mind as I read, as there is something in excess, and not a good something...

    Having read the Odyssey in prose form, translated by E.V. Rieu, I had high hopes for what is described as the 'greatest war story ever told'....

    With a more than impressive cast of characters to work with; Achilles, Paris, Hector, Helen of Troy, etc, etc, etc,....this story (and perhaps it is the translation) is really lacking when compared to The Odyssey in story content. Much of the book is used to name soldier after soldier who dies, along with his patronimic lineage...and how he was killed; be it sword, spear, rock, etc.

    The story that inspires this book, the love of Paris and his affair with Helen, the 'face that launched a thousand ships' is a story ripe with potential...for both a good war story, a good love story, and a fascinating look at Ancient Greek war strategy, and the taking and sacking of a powerful city like Troy. In this incarnation, it doesn't live up to that potential, which was greatly disappointing.

    The story read, to me, as a Classical equivalent to the United States' Vietnam War Memorial, listing name after name of slain soldiers and M.I.A.' much so that the 'main characters' of the story are grievously overlooked, and it is near impossible to keep track of which side is winning, with name after name hurled at you.

    The saving grace, for me, of this book is really the last several chapters...where the grief of Achilles for his slain lover, Patroclus, is chronicled. While never blatant in its descriptiveness, the love, admiration, and longing that Achilles held for Patroclus is MORE than evident here, even if Brad Pitt couldn't muster the bravery to play it on screen in his ho-hum turn as Achilles. Also entertaining is the impish interference of the Gods from time to time to favor one side or another...which was also 'scrubbed' from the film version, as it, according to Pitt, would not 'play well' with an audience.

    I guess after reading the Odyssey, I anticipated a superior story here, and was disappointed with what I found. Though the subject matter is fascinating...and the recent Hollywood bastardization is appallingly NON-authentic, having read the story, I walked away from this book feeling let down.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Iliad of Homer in it's best Incarnation
    Have you ever wanted to go back in time, to an era where powerful gods mingled with humans and great wars were fought, to an era of mythology? Well, welcome to The Iliad, the classic tale of the Trojan War. This ancient story tells us of forty-one of the most brutal days of the great Trojan War, the great war fought to retrieve Helen, the former wife of the Spartan king. It tells us of the rage of Achilles, the champion fighter of the Greeks, when the all-powerful Agamemnon does him a wrong.

    All throughout this epic poem, the flowing verse creates a wonderful, musical experience that's a joy to read. There is wonderful depth of character and use of emotions everywhere in this exquisite book, allowing you to know the magnificent, rich characters inside and out. Descriptions are captivating and concise, resulting in extraordinarily clear mental images of what's happening. The story itself is so well crafted that it is almost believable.
    I would highly recommend this absolutely fantastic book to anyone and everyone. The reading is very easy, and very rhythmic, so nearly anyone will be able to read it. The Iliad is definitely one the best books I have ever read and it deserves to be so for you.

    Karl Griggs ... Read more

    8. Letters to a Young Poet
    by Rainer Maria Rilke
    list price: $9.95
    our price: $8.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393310396
    Catlog: Book (2004-08)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 6628
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    It would take a deeply cynical heart not to fall in love withRainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. At the end of this millennium,his slender book holds everything a student of the century could want: the unedited thoughts of (arguably) the most important European poet of the modern age. Rilke wrote these 10 sweepingly emotional letters in 1903, addressing a former student of one of his own teachers. The recipientwas wise enough to omit his own inquiries from the finished product, which means that we get a marvelously undiluted dose of Rilkean aestheticsand exhortation.

    The poet prefaced each letter with an evocative notation of the city in which he wrote, including Paris, Rome, and the outskirts of Pisa. Yethe spends most of the time encouraging the student in his own work,delivering a sublime, one-on-one equivalent of the modern writing workshop:

    Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; atits source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it.Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist. Then take thatdestiny upon yourself and bear it, its burden and its greatness, without ever asking what recompense might come from outside.
    Every page is stamped with Rilke's characteristic grace, and the bookis free of the breathless effect that occasionally mars his poetry. Hisideas on gender and the role of the artist are also surprisingly prescient.And even his retrograde comment on the "beauty of the virgin" (which thepoet derives from the fact that she "has not yet achieved anything") is counterbalanced by his perception that "the sexes are more related thanwe think." Those looking for an alluring image of the solitary artist--andfor an astonishing quotient of wisdom--will find both in Letters to aYoung Poet.--Jennifer Buckendorff ... Read more

    Reviews (42)

    5-0 out of 5 stars eternal wisdom should be shared with everyone
    A very good friend gave this book to me as I was struggling to find myself during my early college years. I was instantly amazed at how a book written over ninety years ago could be so precisely helpful to the many questions I was suffering with at the time. Rilke introduced me to the concept of solitude as a blessing. This idea has truly changed my life for the better as I have taken the time to step away from life and look inside for the answers I seek. If I had one gift to give someone I truly cared about, it would be this masterpiece. Although the contents of this book can not be appreciated by everyone, I challenge all to read it and see if it sparks the fire in them that it has brought to me.

    5-0 out of 5 stars full of wisdom and insight
    I had already read this book a couple of months ago and was moved by Rilke's incredible wisdom. And just a few days ago, while I was preparing for a philosophy exam, I chanced upon this book once more and, seeing certain parallels between Rilke's words and other philosophers', truly understood and admired Rilke and his perspective on life. Rilke speaks of dragons in our lives... who could be princesses in disguise "...waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love..." This is one book that should be constantly reread and pondered on by anyone who wishes to move towards the true meaning of what it is to be human...

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the most important books I've ever read
    I have read, re-read and generally mutilated my copy of Rainier Maria Rilke's "Letters To A Young Poet". Rarely does a day go by without me thinking of Rilke's Nietzschean, no-holds-barred philosophy of the real poet. For him, a poet is no simply one who writes verses or rhymes words: it is a different kind of human being who embraces not only beauty and happinesss but suffering and misfortune. His thoughts on solitude are absolutely indispensable. Any artist or aspiring artist who has ever been in a fruitless relationship ("loss of the self" is a theme he explores almost obsessively) will realize that Rilke is writing through experience on the necessity of a good amount of solitude, both spiritual and physical, to create art. He is achingly honest to the poet with whom he is conversing, and passionately sincere. He knows that not every poet is a poet, and that some will find the Promethean task far too exhausting to actually go through with it: the real artist is the one who has no choice in the matter. His inner demons or angels will not ALLOW him to stop writing. Bukowski's thoughts on the matter are similar, as are most major writers and artist. This is a demanding, unforgiving collection of letters. Rilke has no patience for weakness or dilly dallying. But it is more inspiring than any self-help book on the shelf. This should be nationally distributed, not only for artists but for human beings as a whole.

    5-0 out of 5 stars "When a prince is going to speak silence must be made"
    "Letters to a Young Poet" is a very small book that allows us to enjoy the correspondence between a famous writer and an aspiring poet. This exchange of letters began in 1903 thanks to a missive that Franz Xaver Kappus sent to R. M. Rilke, and continued for many years, until 1908.

    Why is this little book important?. Because it allows us to read what Rilke thought about many subjects, for example life, poetry, and art. And because, as F. X. Kappus said, "when a prince is going to speak, silence must be made".

    Kappus wanted to share the insights that Rilke gave him, and thus compiled his missives in "Letters to a young poet". The letters are few, and not overly long, but in this case the knowledge offered is certainly greater than the number of pages.

    I especially appreciated the fact that Rilke tried to share his experiences with the striving writer, without pretending to impose his opinions on him. The result of this open-minded attitude is that he doesn't seem a distant teacher, but rather a friend that merely happens to know more than him. That can be easily seen, for example, when he advices Franz to: "Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create. Accept it, just as it sounds, without inquiring into it. Perhaps it will turn out that you are called to be an artist".

    On the whole, I highly recommend this book to everybody. It will probably be more useful to aspiring writers, but people who simply enjoy literature will delight in it too :)

    Belen Alcat

    1-0 out of 5 stars Poor translation of an even poorer book
    I've never understood the fascination with the "wisdom" of the 28 year old Rilke. To me, this is quite possibly the most condescending work in German literature. ... Read more

    9. Complete Poems and Plays,: 1909-1950
    by T. S. Eliot
    list price: $35.00
    our price: $22.05
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 015121185X
    Catlog: Book (1952-11-20)
    Publisher: Harcourt
    Sales Rank: 22365
    Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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    Eliot's poetry ranges from the massively magisterial( The Waste Land), to the playfully pleasant (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats). This volume of Eliot's poetry and plays offers the complete text of these and most all of Eliot's poetry,including the full text of Four Quartets. Winner of theNobel Prize in Literature, Eliot exerted a profound influence on his contemporaries in the arts generally and this collection makes his genius clear. ... Read more

    Reviews (10)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Eliot at his best
    A wonderful collection of most of T.S. Eliot's poetry, including The Wasteland, The Hollow Men and Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. Has extensive notes by the author. A must for all Eliot fans.

    4-0 out of 5 stars 3-star collection of a 10-star poet's work
    T. S. Eliot was arguably the greatest poet of the 20th century, but this collection is far from ideal. Alert readers will have already noticed the ominous qualifier "1909-1950" in the title; this book does *not* include the last two plays ("The Confidential Clerk" and "The Elder Statesman"), the last Ariel poem ("The Cultivation of Christmas Trees"), or the handful of Occasional Verses included in "Collected Poems 1909-1962." In addition, the typography in this volume is claustrophobic in the early poems. TSE's style is concentrated and intense, and virtually every collection of his work has the sense to begin each poem on a new page. This book, unfortunately, is the exception: it crams the poems together like classified ads.

    The One True Eliot Collection was never published in the United States: "The Complete Poems and Plays of T. S. Eliot" (Faber and Faber, 1969 and later reprintings). It's worth looking on for a used copy since this book contains virtually all the published poems, all five plays, and even "Poems Published in Early Youth." In the meantime, U.S. readers are better off skipping the 1909-1950 volume. Get "Collected Poems 1909-1962" and buy the plays separately -- along with Old Possum's Book of You-Know-Whats, if you insist.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I have heard the mermaids singing...
    An excellent collection of the vast majority of his published works.

    While Eliot lived into the sixties, there is an inevitable temptation to concentrate on his earlier classic works such as The Love Song Of J Alfred Prufrock, which yielded the above line, The Waste Land and The Hollow Men above all.

    A lot of Eliot's perspectives involve psychological impotence, and a majestic failure to act, and be a part of events, of the World, the Life, if you like; such as in the lines "I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing for me."

    Here, he writes about isolation and alienation, with accompanying non-participation. The impotent voyeur, as in Joyce's Ulysses, based on the classical myth. Joyce's Sirens are Lydia and Mina, the 'sexy barmaids' at the Ormond Hotel. Bloom can hear their siren song from the next bar, as they lure the male clientele to part with their cash, but he is separate from events; reflecting cyborg-like on their music which he terms 'musemathematics'.

    While The Waste Land and The Hollow Men in particular were clearly written during a time of deep spiritual crisis, Eliot did transcend this period and they are not really representative of his later life philosophy.

    One stanza from T S Eliot's The Hollow Men, became the source of Nevil Shute's book title On The Beach - this being his 1957 post-apocalyptic novel which later appeared as the 1963 Gregory Peck movie of the same name, about the last doomed survivors of a nuclear holocaust.

    In this last of meeting places
    We grope together
    And avoid speech
    Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

    The J G Ballardesque inner landscape that Eliot creates, of decaying cities and civilizations and the encroaching spiritual desert, 'sunlight on a broken column', the final phase of extreme Entropy, the suppression of the Eternal Feminine, is just all part of the ultimate fear of nothingness or perhaps meaninglessness that has gnawed away at the human psyche for eons.

    Just as Ballard's ancient nuclear test site in The Terminal Beach, replete with its decrepit bunkers and blockhouses, is 'a fossil of Time Future', so too is Eliot's Waste Land a metaphor for the human inability to perceive Time and to merge with the flow of the Universe.

    A genius? Absolutely no question about it.

    5-0 out of 5 stars the 3 modern greats: Dante, Shakespeare, Eliot
    This authoritative volume of his poetry & plays is essential to every poetry collection. The first poem in his first published book, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was astonishing to its first audiences & is now known as one of the greatest 20th century poems ever. Read any book of essays that includes 20th century poetry; that poem is talked about in it. But I don't mean to be reviewing as though T. S. Eliot was a man of one poem; he was a writer of such severe genius throughout his career that poetry since him has all been in his shadow. Within 10 years of his career, he had had a profounder influence on poetry as we know it than anybody else. Writer of incredibly dense poems, one might argue that with his wild & totally new ideas about he was the godfather of language poetry, but he was also had a fierce love for tradition, in his self-exile from the U.S. to England.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Prometheus of modern poetry
    I became familiar with Eliot's work chronologically, learning something new at each step. "Prufrock" introduced me to modern poetical structure, "The Waste Land" showed me how literary allusion can enrich verse, "Ash-Wednesday" refreshed the world of religious poetry, and the supernal "Four Quartets" was for me a metaphysical insight of the greatest beauty.

    Eliot is without a doubt the finest poet of the 20th century, perhaps the finest poet ever. His contributions to the poets who came after him, and to literature in general, are persistently evident. Eliot doesn't always succeed, and many of his poems seem trite and pretentious, but when he succeeds he hits dead on with poetry perfect in form, balance, and sound. There is the man here, the poet as reflected in his own work, but there is also common human experience through looking at history ("The Waste Land") and meditating on Man's relationship with the Divine and the eternal (Ariel Poems, and most of his output after 1928).

    HOWEVER, this edition of his "collected works," COMPLETE POEMS AND PLAYS: 1909-1950 lacks several last poems which can be found in COLLECTED POEMS 1909-1962. I recommend that edition, as tt is worth missing out on Eliot's plays in order to have a truly complete collection of his sublime verse. ... Read more

    10. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
    by Emily Dickinson
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0316184136
    Catlog: Book (1976-01-30)
    Publisher: Back Bay Books
    Sales Rank: 4425
    Average Customer Review: 4.59 out of 5 stars
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    Emily Dickinson proved that brevity can be beautiful. Only now is her complete oeuvre--all 1,775 poems--available in its original form, uncorrupted by editorial revision, in one volume. Thomas H. Johnson, a longtime Dickinson scholar, arranged the poems in chronological order as far as could be ascertained (the dates for more than 100 are unknown). This organization allows a wide-angle view of Dickinson's poetic development, from the sometimes-clunky rhyme schemes of her juvenilia, including valentines she wrote in the early 1850s, to the gloomy, hell-obsessed writings from her last years. Quite a difference from requisite Dickinson entries in literary anthologies: "There's a certain Slant of light," "Wild Nights--Wild Nights!" and "I taste a liquor never brewed."

    The book was compiled from Thomas H. Johnson's hard-to-find variorum from 1955. While some explanatory notes would have been helpful, it's a prodigious collection, showcasing Dickinson's intractable obsession with nature, including death. Poem 1732, which alludes to the deaths of her father and a onetime suitor, illustrates her talent:

    My life closed twice before its close;
    It yet remains to see
    If Immortality unveil
    A third event to me,

    So huge, so hopeless to conceive
    As these that twice befell.
    Parting is all we know of heaven,
    And all we need of hell.

    The musicality of her punctuation and the outright elegance of her style--akin to Christina Rossetti's hymns, although not nearly so religious--rescue the poems from their occasional abstruseness. The Complete Poems is especially refreshing because Dickinson didn't write for publication; only 11 of her verses appeared in magazines during her lifetime, and she had long-resigned herself to anonymity, or a "Barefoot-Rank," as she phrased it. This is the perfect volume for readers wishing to explore the works of one of America's first poets. ... Read more

    Reviews (37)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Blasphemous! Erotic! Brilliant!
    I can't think of "The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson" as simply a volume of poetry. Rather, it seems to me to be the uninhibited testament of a latter-day prophetess; it reads like the visions of a rare mind who pierced through the prisons of convention, and who dared to record what she perceived.

    Forget any preconceptions you may have had about Dickinson, and start reading the book. As a whole, this collection is a stunning exploration of many themes and images: the world of nature, metaphysics, human emotion, and more. And throughout, these short verses radiate with psychological insight.

    And if you read with the attentiveness that these poems deserve, you will discover many treasures. I have been a particular fan of Dickinson's "blasphemous" verses, in which she deconstructs the conventions of mainstream religiosity, and of her erotic poems, which celebrate the sensuous delights of the human and nonhuman worlds. Check out such gems as #324 ("Some keep the Sabbath going to Church-- / I keep it, staying at Home") or #339 ("My Cactus--splits her Beard / To show her throat"). Dickinson is full of surprises, all written in a style that is stunning and subtly seductive.

    Dickinson writes, "Exhilaration--is within-- / There can no Outer Wine / So royally intoxicate / As that diviner Brand" (#383). But if you must rely on an "Outer Wine," dip into the "Complete Poems" and get high on Emily. It's an addiction that's good for you.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the few poets who ever perfected a method.
    I have 1000 words to tell what Dickinson means to me, an impossible task I gladly take up. I'd like to respond to others on this page. I once called Dickinson the "patron saint of lonely people everywhere," so I can identify with what one person said about teenage shut-ins. And I don't blame the person who snubbed her for not leaving a name--I'd be embarrassed to as well. Emily egotistical? The poet who wrote, "I'm nobody"? Wow. I love Dickinson's work so much because her vision of life is so fully her own, so at odds with the views of those around her. Can you imagine knowing you are the most brilliant lyric poet of your time (Whitman was more an epic or narrative poet), and knowing no one understood you? It's like trying to communicate in a foreign language that only you know. In fact, that is exactly what she did--she explodes the syntax, vocabulary, and syllabication of English and transforms it into her own private means of communication. She demands that we meet her on her ground. True, reading her work is not "fun"--there's too much pain and burning beauty in it to be an easy ride. She is not for everyone--only for those who see that life's disappointments both destroy and liberate us at the same time: comparing human hurts to trees destroyed by nature's forces, she says (in poem 314), "We--who have the Souls-- / Die oftener--Not so vitally--." Those may be the finest lines any poet ever wrote in English.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Money...
    On any other collection of Emily Dickinson's verse, because this is the one you're going to end up with, trust me. Beginners to Ms. Dickinson's poetry might be a little intimadated by this thick, thick book of untitled, sequentially numbered poems. But the thing about Dickinson's poems is that, while a lot aren't readily accessible, the ones that are (most of which invariably find their way into the smaller collections of her work) are so riveting that her readers inevitably end up wanting her complete collection on hand. Which is why they should just suck it up and buy this book in the first place.

    If you've never read Emily Dickinson, read some of her more famous work online or in the library first to see if you're interested. If so, buy this book immediately. If you already have another collection of her work and consider yourself a fan, sell whatever other collection you have and buy this one.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Emily Dickinson: A True Original
    Emily Dickinson, who lived from 1830 to 1886, is to me the symbol of a poet with a unique and distinctive voice, a voice that seemed strange to her contemporaries but that gradually came to be recognized and cherished by lovers of poetry everywhere.

    She led a life withdrawn from the world and, in some ways, reality as most of us know it, for she lived mainly in her imagination. She found no recognition in her day and only six of her poems were published, all modified and conventional-ized by the editors to suit their readers, who liked old-fashioned verse and were not appreciative of new styles and innovative forms. But that didn't seem to bother Dickinson too much. In fact, she didn't even seem to take too much pride in her talent, even if she knew the full extent of it. For one thing, she kept it very private, except with a few correspondents. In fact, her poetry wasn't even discovered until after her death. Her sister went through her belongings in her room and found the many, many loose scraps of paper covered with poems that had been written down through the decades by Dickinson. So, although she was never to attain fame and success in her lifetime ("fame is a bee. / It has a song-- / It has a sting-- / Ah, too, it has a wing"), she eventually had to settle for "fame of the mind"--recognition of her talent in her own mind. It was for posterity to discover her. That didn't take long. Her first collection was put out only a short 4 years after her death.

    The specific reason why so little of her poetry found its way in print while she was still alive was, largely, because her use of metre, punctuation, and rhyme was so irregular and unusual. Editors mistook her offbeat application of these elements as flaws of "technical imperfections". They did not understand that these "imperfections" were not mistakes at all on her part, but rather, poetic experimentations. But their error can be well understood, of course, when one realizes that what Emily Dickinson was doing was something they just had not seen attempted, by anyone. Even Walt Whitman, another highly experimental American poet of the time, was doing something completely different from her poetry. But like his poetry, hers too was considered uncontrolled and eccentric. It seemed to follow no set of rules for verse in a time when poetry had very clearly defined rules of composition.

    Times have completely changed and poets today enjoy the fredom of unlimited expression. No longer are there any set rules for this or that, and all styles, forms and uses of punctuation (or lack of) are acceptable. In fact, newness and innovation are now considered a plus, all thanks to true and pioneering originals like Emily Dickinson.

    David Rehak
    author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great poems!
    What can I say? This book is great! ... Read more

    11. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy : and Other Stories
    by Tim Burton
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0688156819
    Catlog: Book (1997-11-05)
    Publisher: HarperEntertainment
    Sales Rank: 1400
    Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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    This unassuming hardcover in black buckram with a dark lavender title plate is the door into a world of twisted pleasures. Filmmaker Tim Burton (EdwardScissorhands, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas) tells 23winsomely macabre stories about boys and girls who don't fit in. Their bodies are misshapen, their habits are odd, and their parents are appalled by them. But they do try hard to be human, like poor unwanted Mummy Boy, who's "a bundle of gauze": he goes for a walk in the park with his mummy dog. Some kids are having "a birthday party for a Mexican girl." They think Mummy Boy is a piñata: "They took a baseball bat and whacked open his head. Mummy Boy fell to the ground; he finally was dead. Inside of his head were no candy or prizes, just a few stray beetles of various sizes." For all its simple humor, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & OtherStories is a peculiarly disturbing book about the violence that children suffer. It is illustrated in pen and ink, watercolor, and crayon. The themes and imagery are at a young-adult to adult level. ... Read more

    Reviews (87)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Written As a Children's Book, But Best For an Older Kid
    I bought this handsome collection of short poems and stories by Tim Burton, not only because he is my most favorite director, but also because I was very interested in what his poetry and stories were like. Although "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories" is written as a children's book, the content consists of some sexual,drug, and just plain macabre stuff. For example, in a couple poems, like "Robot Boy," a line goes, "He never forgave her unholy alliance: a sexual encounter with a kitchen appliance." Also, to tell you about the scarce yet present drug content, in the poem called, "Sue", the beginning is, "To avoid a lawsuit, we'll just call her Sue (or "that girl who likes to sniff lots of glue"). And lastly,to show you that macabre stuff is present, I can't recite a specific line because all of them contain some or lots of macabre. But if you truly love Tim Burton, then this book is a good thing to have. I like the poems in this collection- they are fun to read over and over, and a great addition to your bookshelf. I just suggest that you don't buy it for a child or an early reader- it is really for an older kid (like 12 and up) to adult. All in all, I enjoyed this book, and anyone who loves Tim Burton, likes macabre comedy, and can be mature to some very light adult content will enjoy having this book!

    P.S.- I loved "The Girl with Many Eyes"! (It was a clean and funny poem)!

    P.S.S.- Not all of the poems contain drug or sexual content!! In fact, most are clean and clever!

    3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but not for everyone.
    I bought this book since I'm a fan of Tim Burton's movies (Edward Scissorhands is one of the most beautiful movies I've seen). I appreciate Burton's unique drawing style, and I thought I would enjoy this book. However, it wasn't quite what I expected. I had in mind something more similar to Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" or, at worst, something akin to Angus Oblong's "Creepy Susie." And while it does have some similarity, I found it much less entertaining. The stories are often little more than a reiteration of the title, and the verse in the longer stories strikes me as uneven in rhythm (which may not bother everyone, but i'm admittedly uptight about things like that.) One solidly redeeming feature about this book is the impeccable design, however. The hardcover edition is beautifully bound, and the book is cleverly and neatly laid out. Graphic design students might want to take note of this book solely for that feature, if it can be found cheaply.

    In summary, I'd say the book is for hardcore Burton fans, or those who are more open to highly atypical stories. I give it three stars for effort and design.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Super
    This book is the most imaginative thing i have ever read. Not only did i enjoy the artwork i also enjoyed something i never have enjoyed before...POETRY! He made it so fun to read each story. Granted it took me a grand total of fifteen minutes to read the whole thing i still loved every story it had to offer! I hope Tim expresses his poetic genius again very soon!

    5-0 out of 5 stars This book ROCKS!!!
    This book has to be one of THE BEST books I have ever read. Five stars is not good enough to descripe this, it should have more like 58 stars! It was written by Tim Burton so only the best is expected, seeing how he is one of the best directors in the history of forever. I've spent many hours reading this book, and have done more than 18 schools projects about it. It's that good!!!

    4-0 out of 5 stars A touching collection
    If you are a fan of Tim Burton's work, then I recommend this to you in the fullest. If you are not, then I recommend you stay away from it.

    I picked this book up on a whim, without ever having read anything by Tim Burton. I loved the Nightmare Before Christmas and enjoy the work of people like Angus Oblong, Jhonen Vasquez, Roman Dirge, and Gorey-- so I figured, why not?

    Although it's not the best poetry ever (I'm not a poet, I don't know very much about rhythm or anything like that), I found them to be very touching. The layout is very nice and pleasing, and some of the poems are laugh out loud funny, while others are starkly sad and leave a big impression on the reader. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy was strikingly sad in my opinion, and I nearly cry when I read the poem "Anchor Baby".

    The book itself is a beautifully bound hardcover book-- it looks very nice sitting on a shelf, and I think it would be great to have sitting on a living room coffee table (..that is, if I didn't live in a dorm)

    The ONLY reason I did not give this 5 stars is because it is a little bit pricey, in my opinion. I would consider buying a second hand copy, if possible. ... Read more

    12. Refusing Heaven
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1400043654
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-08)
    Publisher: Knopf
    Sales Rank: 257108
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    13. The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition
    by Margaret Ferguson, Jon Stallworthy, Mary Jo Salter
    list price: $56.80
    our price: $56.80
    (price subject to change: see help)
    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

    14. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
    by Seamus Heaney
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393320979
    Catlog: Book (2001-02)
    Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 4085
    Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (177)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Seamus Heaney does justice
    I am no scholar of Beowulf, but Seamus Heaney's version is the fourth or fifth version I've read, and in comparison to those it is by far the most superior. Any prose translations should be discredited by that account alone, but Seamus Heaney doesn't just make it poetic, as it should be, he uses his personal experiences, as indicated in the Introduction, when choosing the best word for the meter. When he uses these Irish local coloquialisms, it's not out of sheer desperation but of sheer love for the music of poetry, and when no other words sounds right, he chooses these words to emphasize the poetry and the plot.

    I have read other reviewers at this site discrediting Seamus Heaney due to this very reason, but in my view if a translator doesn't add passion to his translation then it is a waste of time to translate at all. It may not be exactly true to the text, but true enough. One thing I love most about his translation is the fact that he stays true to the meter. With four alliterations per line, he provides the feel of the original text upon the reading.

    Another thing I loved about this translation is the very first line. He makes (a true) comment that while previous versions begin the entire text with a "Lo!" or a "Hark!" or a "Behold!", Seamus Heaney starts off with the simple yet modern "So." -- with a period -- not even an overused and ecstatic exclamation mark.

    Finally, for those who don't dabble in the egoism of stuffy "scholarly" expectations will also enjoy glancing at the original text that displays directly next to the translation. Here you get the feel of Seamus Heaney's decision to translate the way he did. You won't understand the original text, yet with the translation sitting next to it, you will.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Undeniable Masterpiece, Still Rings True..
    Many a public school students have had this epic tale shoved down their throat; thus turning them off from any further exploration of it. I, however, was never victim of such forced reading of this text, and as a result, grasped it on my own free will. This is one of the newest translations of Beowulf, and possibly the best one out there.
    Undoubtedly, Heaney's translation is fairly easy to read. The pages are in old English and then Heaney's translation, facing one another. While this makes for an entertaining reading experience, I don't know how to read Old English and therefore this was lost to me.
    In this book, Seamus Heaney manages to translate Beowulf accurately and carefully; the awkward language of many translations is not present here. Additionally, while not simplistic, Heaney's writing style is easily understandable. This book was truly a joy to read.
    Also, what renders this book so interesting in my own mind is not only its age, but its continued appeal. Beowulf was penned anonymously some 1 000 years ago - give or take a few centuries. As a result, it was written in old English, the ancient great-great-great grandparent of our own jargon today. Nevertheless, the archtypical ideals remain the same: Beowful is fierce, and he battles a monster.
    The heroics of the story, and the basic plot, remain unadultured even in our culture today. We still find ourselves drawn to heroics and the battle of good versus evil, this arguably the root of most stories. Beowulf just goes to show that a millenia later, we still are able to connect with the literary and sociological aspirations of our forefathers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing lyrical translation
    Seamus Heaney's Beowulf is the best translation of a classic work into a modern language that I have seen in years, it may yet be my personal favorite translation of all time (best to let the thrill of the reading wear off before that judgement is made, however). I have done a bit of translation work from modern languages other than English, and am fully aware of how difficult it is to translate a line of prose from one living language to another, while acomplishing the two tasks that are the goal of every translator; 1- convey the meaning of the words, 2-convey the aesthetic "feel" of the words. These two goals are very often in serious conflict with one another- and when one adds in the element of the subject being poetry it makes it even harder, because you have to mediate the first two goals, and then add another; fit it all into a lyrical framework.

    Much of the time, translators simply drop the poetry, and represent the story as prose (the Rieus version of the Iliad does this)and this is a choice I usually respect. Trying to force a story into an alien rhyme scheme makes them, very often, unbearably cheesy (viz. most versions of the Aeneid); whereas the Rieus' Iliad is a rollicking good time.

    Nevertheless, the loss of lyricism is indeed a loss; especially when the sounds of the words when spoken are particularly beautiful, or the lyrical framework particularly appropriate for conveying the mood of a story. Ironically, the better the poet is in the original language the more difficult it becomes for her voice to survive the translator's work.

    And this is why (back to the orginal topic) Heaney's work is so jaw-dropping. The story works as faithful translation, beautiful writing, and poetry as well. It is entirely comprehensible, faithful to the original text, and yet has the distinct ring of an authentic saxon "voice." I would give my right arm to have half the ability with translating modern languages that Heaney has brought to bear on this translation of the classic saxon epic.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A masterwork indeed!
    Unfortunately many people read ethnic junk instead of reading the true classics in literature,i.e., Sidney, Chaucer and this work in particular. Beowulf is the most important work of early literature in English language and should be required reading and one should skip the savage writers of lesser cultures.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Middle-England or Middle-Earth?
    I read the text of Beowulf in this edition before reading the introduction. I had never read Beowulf before and I wanted to come to it fresh. Taken on its own, as a novice, it is a rollicking good read. First off, it is very short - you could get through it in about one sitting. It gets right into the heart of the matter; the monster Grendel (a cursed descendent of Cain) is about the countryside killing people. The hero Beowulf comes from Sweden to Denmark to fight him.

    Of course, this is an Old English fantasy poem so there are times when you have to meet it on its own terms. For instance, either drowning did not exist back then or Beowulf could hold his breath indefinitely because the underwater fight between him and Grendel's mother lasts for nine hours. This is one macho man!

    The translation by Seamus Heaney moves along at a brisk pace. The Anglo-Saxon text is on one side of the page and the English is on the other. He provides little chapter headings at the side of the page. There are no annoying footnotes. He provides a long introduction acquainting us with the text and why it is so important and why it should be considered a work of art in itself and not merely interesting for historical reasons. He credits J.R.R. Tolkien's essay as helping people appreciate it in a purely literary way. Indeed, this is one of the prime influences upon Lord of the Rings; the plot is different but the monsters, names, and manner of speaking will ring a bell.

    What I enjoy most about Beowulf is the sense of being transported back in time to Anglo-Saxon England. This book is a living piece of history and Heaney's translation makes it remarkably fresh. ... Read more

    15. Sailing Alone Around the Room : New and Selected Poems
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0375755195
    Catlog: Book (2002-09-17)
    Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
    Sales Rank: 3366
    Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Sailing Alone Around the Room, by America’s Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, contains both new poems and a generous gathering from his earlier collections The Apple That Astonished Paris, Questions About Angels, The Art of Drowning, and Picnic, Lightning. These poems show Collins at his best, performing the kinds of distinctive poetic maneuvers that have delighted and fascinated so many readers. They may begin in curiosity and end in grief; they may start with irony and end with lyric transformation; they may, and often do, begin with the everyday and end in the infinite. Possessed of a unique voice that is at once plain and melodic, Billy Collins has managed to enrich American poetry while greatly widening the circle of its audience. ... Read more

    Reviews (49)

    5-0 out of 5 stars This Is Guy Is The Real Thing, I Kid You Not...
    Billy Collins is a poet of body and soul, someone who knows the bite and pleasure of a turn of phrase that enlivens like a shot of pretty-good Irish whisky. "American" is too narrow a designation for poems whose aim is to direct us to the truly human--the whimsical and the sorrowful, the oddly-tough animal underlying that humanity. For those who, like Collins, have the mantle and designation of "master poet" bestowed upon them repeatedly the trick is to earn that praise. Billy Collins has certainly earned whatever well-intentioned men and women may say of him, especially the good: his is a finely honed voice and, at times, that voice wickers into a wonderfully quirky track of experience that never excludes the accidental and fleeting. One cannot say enough about such good and decent men, or their works.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly devoid of tweed and pomp
    If you haven't bought a book of poetry in a while (or, perhaps, ever), Billy Collins's most recent collection is a good choice. His poems are unfailingly accessible and entertaining, so easy to read they make poetry look as if it's easy to write. Collins abhors lofty, incomprehensible verse and yet manages to reconcile his down home persona with an obvious love of good wine, good jazz, and reference books of varying sizes. I'm off now to the park with my dog, my coffee, and my copy of Billy Collins.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Shorts & Blue Jeans
    Living in a beach community is a shorts and blue jeans kind of life. The comfortable and casual, "blue jeans kinda style" poetry of Billy Collins, our country's latest Poet Laurete, is a perfect match for the beach life style. In his latest collection of poems, Sailing Alone Around the Room, a collection of new and selected poems from previous works, Collins shows us that poetry can be fun. It can entertain you, make you laugh at the same time it gives you ideas to ponder. In his poem "Introduction to Poetry" Collins asks us not to "tie the poem to a chair with rope and torture a confession out of it; don't begin beating it with a hose to find out what it really means." A poem is whatever you want it to be. A book of poetry is a house where poems live.

    Being a first time reader of Collins' poetry and vowing to take his advice, I let the poems in Sailing Alone Around the Room read to me. I found it was like eating a tantalizing dessert at a gourmet restaurant. The poems slid into me effortlessly, creating an explosion of moving pictures in my mind. They left me hungry for another taste and then another. When I was full and had no room for another I had to push myself away from the table so that I could properly digest what had been fed into me. The author had become an old friend and we were just having this wonderful converation as we had done so many times before.

    In a recent interview, Collins explained the quick connection to his work experienced by many readers encountering him for the first time: "As I'm writing, I'm always reader conscious. I have one reader in mind, someone who is in the room with me, and who I'm talking to, and I want to make sure I don't talk too fast, or too glibly. Usually I try to create a hospitable tone at the beginning of a poem. Stepping from the title to the first lines is like stepping into a canoe. A lot of things can go wrong." Nothing goes "wrong" in "Nostalgia", one of my favorites.

    Here's how it begins:


    Remember the 1340's? We were doing a dance called
    the Catapult.
    You always wore brown, the color craze of the decade,
    and I was draped in one of those capes that were popular,
    the ones with unicorns and pomegranates in needlework.
    Everyone would pause for beer and onions in the afternoon,
    and at night we would play a game called "Find the Cow."
    Everything was hand-lettered then, not like today.

    And here's how it ends:

    As usual, I was thinking about the moments of the past,
    letting my memory rush over them like water
    rushing over the stones on the bottom of a stream.
    I was even thinking a little about the future, that place
    where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine,
    a dance whose name we can only guess.

    Sailing Alone Around the Room is a book of poems to keep close by. Forget your day timers, your calenders, cell phones, palm pilots, your American Express cards. Just take this book of poems with you. Whenever you are in need of a snack, a taste of observation, a chuckle to give you a lift, a thought to ponder, a feeling of awe and wonder, a sense of belonging, the poems will be there for you, just waiting.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Agreement with the reviewer from Santa Barbara
    I can't say it better than the reviewer from Santa Barbara. Billy Collins is worth reading and re-reading and enjoying like hard candy rolling in your mouth.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Implicated in the Death of American Verse
    Billy Collins has done more than any other single person to promote banality, stylistic conservatism, and cuteness in American verse. Those who place him at the level of a national poet like Frost miss the point. Certainly as Frost was interpreted by his average reader he was a pretty 'easy' poet, but his poems were elegant in that way: they opened up to very serious readings and were filled with a finally overwhelming negative force. Collins lacks all force whatsoever. He is a hack and he knows it. Mr. Collins, on the off-chance that in a bout of insecurity you've come to this page to read your reviews I just want you to know this: you must come to a decision: either to start writing serious verse or to give it up all together and retreat to greating cards. Programs like your poetry channel on airlines makes me sick and it degrades poetry. Poetry should not be easy. There is nothing classist in this evaluation. The elements at this point that leave great works closed to some and not others are less class-based than ever before. It is rather more a matter of an exertion of meaningful energy on the part of the reader. Certainly those who spend their evenings watching sitcoms will have a hard time with Stevenson, they will want to consume and find that they are asked to produce. Some will turn away, others will make the effort and discover what rewards hard work of the imagination and intellect can yield. Why, Mr. Collins, are you working to undermine this? Why are you working to perpetuate and legitimate a way of reading that is driving high literary culture into extinction? ... Read more

    16. 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

    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

    17. Perrine's Sound and Sense : An Introduction to Poetry
    by Thomas R. Arp, Greg Johnson
    list price: $57.95
    our price: $57.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0838407463
    Catlog: Book (2004-05-14)
    Publisher: Heinle
    Sales Rank: 403452
    Average Customer Review: 3.83 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    An introduction to poetry presented in a compact and concise anthology, SOUND AND SENSE continues the tradition of offering clear, precise writing and practical organization initiated by Laurence Perrine years ago. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Almost a great resource (that I'd give 3.5 Stars, actually)
    My first exposure to Sound and Sense was in high school, and, at the time, I found the book so valuable a resource that I later purchased a copy. Post-college, my views have changed somewhat.

    If the tone of the writing was not so condescending, this could be a great book. It defines most of the terms necessary to understand critical texts on poetry, including those analyses related to meter, style, and tone. I find the questions after each poem to be helpful and thought-provoking. That said, it is frustrating to me that the author presents ideas and arguments in absolutes (must, must not, never, always, etc.) and then asserts that the logic that MUST be applied to point A CANNOT be applied to point B (but maybe I have spent too many hours working with lawyers).

    My suggestion would be to read the text with a grain of salt. Glean the terminology, answer the questions posed at the end of each poem, follow their suggestions of rereading and considering the many facets of poetry, and try to overlook the condescending manner in which the authors display their opinions as fact.

    4-0 out of 5 stars a little at a time
    I've been nibbling away at a 20 year old edition of this book for a few years in my spare time, and almost every bite has increased my abitity to appreciate poetry. I like the examples, most of them seem pretty old, Frost is about as modern as he gets, but thats ok with me. You might find this book a little annoying if it was required reading in a course, sometimes it asks more questions than it answers.

    1-0 out of 5 stars "Sense" without Sensibility
    English class has never been my favorite class, but poetry has always been one of my better topics. This year - Sophmore High School English - I was required to buy Sound and Sense for class. This is the worst poetry book I have ever read. While the collection of poems is wonderful, the text written by Arp is terrible. Arp comes off as condescending and mean spirited, making the reading of the book a chore. His definitions of the various poetical terms are solid, but you could just as easily get them out of a dictionary. Arp tells the reader that poetry cannot be beautiful unless it concers the perfect love, flowers, or fuzzy animals. He equates the reading of poetry to listening to a radio, and says that if one does not like a critically aclaimed poem, one's tuner is on the wrong station. He leaves nothing to free will, preferring to lead a flock of sheep into an abyss of bad writing over allowing someone to disagree with him here or there. Chapters on "Good Poetry and Bad" do not leave the reader with a love of poetry, nor does the book as a whole make me want to spout sonnets. There are many better collections of poetry around. The poems within Sound and Sense can as easily be found in the Norton or another anthology. As for its educational value, I find that it offers very little by the way of insight, and instead gushes half baked opinions. Do yourselves a foavor and skip this one. You'll learn more about poetry from Dr. Seuss.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Superb Introduction to Poetry and Poetic Form
    I came across an earlier edition of Sound and Sense a few years ago. At first glance the slighty yellowed text appeared foreboding with chapters like denotation and connotation, imagery, figurative lanaguage, allusion, tone, rhythm and meter, sound and meaning, and so forth. I found it hard to imagine a less lifeless approach to poetry. However, the text did seem to contain a sizeable anthology as an appendix and poetry was abundant in every chapter. I reasoned that I could skip the poetic structure discussions and simply read the poetry.

    But from the beginning I found Perrine's style and approach to be stimulating, rather than analytical. Throughout we are immersed in poetry, great poetry, familiar poetry, unfamiliar poetry. Perrine argues that poetry needs to be read and reread carefully for full understanding and appreciation. We need to learn to think about poetry with some seriousness, but not in a cold, calculating manner. We approach new poetry with our eyes and ears open, our senses alive.

    Yes, as other reviewers point out, Sound and Sense is structured and does methodically explore poetic forms in some detail. But this is not a drawback. It is actually an aid to understanding. Perrine manages to achieve his instructional objective without diluting his central message - poetry is to be enjoyed. He never forgets that his subject is poetry, and not poetic form and structure.

    I have since learned that Perrine's text is still in use today some 45 years after publication of the first edition. How can that be? Few textbooks achieve nine editions (nine editions, not just nine printings). Even the title change signifies respect; it is no longer simply Sound and Sense, it is "Perrine's Sound and Sense". I highly recommend Perine's text to anyone willing to invest a little time and study to poetry. The return will be worthwhile. I give Sound and Sense five stars.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful, well-written
    As a University student at Canada, I found this book much more helpful than my profs explanations, which do not go as in detail the elements of poetry. ... Read more

    18. Paradise Lost (Penguin Classics)
    by John Milton, John Leonard
    list price: $10.00
    our price: $8.00
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0140424393
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Sales Rank: 9433
    Average Customer Review: 3.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Edited with an introduction and notes by John Leonard. ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Sing Goddess
    of how the malodorous oaf Milton did share in bold flatulence his heretical views and cause much stink in the bedroom of Tucker who did paw through that man of bad wind's pages, sometimes well-drawn. Sing to me, Muse, of the rage of Tucker, like that of Peleus's son Achilles, of spirited Turnus, or of earth-shaking Neptune, who, upon reading the gaseous opinions of the Arian heretic proto-Mormon poet who does reject the triune God, embrace notions strange of divine progression, draw corporeal spirits bizarre, misunderstand reason's nature and her relation to Faith, hold to a doctrine of imputed righteousness and forensic justification unregenerate, understand perversely law and authority, proudly dismiss hierarchy natural, deny creation ex nihilo, and rebel against the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, did fervently hope for an exhumation of his remains heretical followed by an auto-da-fe.

    But if you must read it, tackle Books I and II, then jump to the end of Book IV where Satan is captured in paradise, then jump to the middle of Book V where Raphael begins to relate the war in Heaven which continues through Book VII, then maybe read about the Fall in Book IX. This is where all the good stuff is; although mixed with much bad, so be wary lest you be overcome by Milton's bad air and worse theology. Odors to which only the damned should be subject.

    On the other hand, any guy who posits a Ptolemaic universe (at least in his prelapsarian astronomy) can't be all bad. And his drawing of the monomaniacal Satan is interesting. Read Lewis' A Preface to Paradise Lost for a more favorable opinion.

    4-0 out of 5 stars More verse and rhyme than you can shake a stick at
    Even if you can't appreciate Classical epics and copious amounts of poetic language, this book is still written good enough for one to appreciate. Milton not only instills new life into this ancient story, but makes it just as compelling and intriguing as any modern story. The epic scope the story encompasses, including both the domains of Heaven and Hell, is enough to humble any reader. Also the unique look at the Powers' characters, especially the in depth look at the character of Satan himself, impresses the reader with a sense of something great. All in all, an excellent read if you have the patience to get through a few of the slower parts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed it
    In response to 'A Magnificent Failure': Yes, Milton was arrogant, and his language certainly does get high-flown...but it is often very beautiful, to my taste anyway. I especially loved the descriptions of Milton's world--Hell, Eden, and Heaven--in the first few books. After that the poetry isn't quite so sublimely beautiful, but it remains quite pleasurable, and Milton's play with ideas kept me interested anyway. It is true that Eve isn't a well-drawn woman (nor is Adam really a well-drawn man in terms of psychological realism) and the male fantasy-fulfilment that contributed to her character is distracting. Nevertheless, by the end of the book I wasn't as disturbed by the character of Eve as I thought I might be. By my own 21st century standard Milton's views on women are deplorable, but his attitude seems to me more ambivalent than uniformly misogynist. You can't expect Milton to be completely independent of his culture, and 17th century England was itself ambivalent about women. Eve is one of the three dominant personalities in the book (well, four if you include Milton's!)and as a woman her role in Milton's universe is quite important, if limiting to her by modern western standards.
    Overall, as long as the reader keeps in mind that he or she need not agree with Milton's ideas, reading Paradise Lost can be a pleasurable and thought-provoking experience.

    2-0 out of 5 stars A magnificent failure.
    "Paradise Lost is a book that, once put down, is very hard to pick up again," Samuel Johnson wrote of Milton's massive work, and added that no one ever wished it to be any longer than it is. I for one wish it were so much shorter that it hadn't been written at all.

    Milton was a man of extreme arrogance. He thought one way was right, and that was his way, in religion, in politics, and in poetry. Disregarding that English is not an inflected language, that its sounds are more various and therefore less melodious than those of Latin, Greek or even Italian, he blasted rhymed poetry with his blunderbuss of a pen and launched forth in an endless barrage of blank verse.

    And with which subject did he choose to invade our ears and sense? Only the one which (according to believers of the Biblical tradition) was handed down to Moses from God himself. I'll just say: the original story in Genesis is *much* better. Milton puts words in God's mouth. He creates a cartoonish scene of Satan's fall from heaven. And Adam is a philosopher with long and flowing locks (very pretty, like those which Milton himself proudly wore). Eve is not a well-drawn woman but the narrow fantasy of his cramped mind.

    A good plot with sympathetic characters in a vivid setting is not the point of Milton's attack. This is Milton creating a universe-- a God, an earth, a human race-- with which he can be comfortable. Any lack of freshness in the story is obscured in the clanging bells of his language, in his love of exotic proper nouns: "Sinai," "Sion," "Siloa" he rattles off in the opening lines. "Horrible dungeon" is too commonplace, but invert it and "Dungeon horrible" is downright impressive.

    Even Reverend Lovejoy of Springfield couldn't keep up with Milton's fire and brimstone: "fiery Deluge" and "ever-burning Sulphur" are part of the place "Eternal Justice" has prepared for the "rebellious." Is it now? Well, who rebelled against the King of England, but Milton with his friend Cromwell? Oh, but that's different, because it was the *right* way, Milton's way, such as his own form of the English language, one in which word order and syntax matter no more.

    No-- there is not a compelling moral to be gained from this grave work. It is Milton's tribute to his own ego, his vast learning in Vergil and Homer, in Hebrew, and his dogmatic views in politics and religion.

    The title is the best part. For centuries women and men who have never read the work have used the words "paradise lost" in conversation. But dive into the pages and prepare to be disappointed by a string of place-names-- "Rabba" and "Argob" and "Basan" and "Arnon"-- and a cherub telling Adam everything that will happen on earth (for two whole books!), a necessary device because after all, the story in Genesis is so very brief!

    Other than the title, _Paradise Lost_ is a failure, but because it is on such a grand scale, because it is so ambitious, it is a magnificent one at that. Milton's learning was very deep, and his mind clever, so I'll grant him two stars for those qualities. Otherwise, avoid this like Eve should have avoided that nasty piece of fruit.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Bad Book
    Man, I had to read this book. It was so boring and hard to read. Skip it or read the cliff notes if at all possible. ... Read more

    19. 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

    20. The Divine Comedy: The Inferno/the Purgatorio/the Paradiso
    by Dante Alighieri, John Ciardi, Dante Alighieri
    list price: $16.95
    our price: $11.53
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0451208633
    Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
    Publisher: New American Library
    Sales Rank: 1930
    Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation. ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but slightly dated classic
    This is an undisputed classic, which I'm sure is even more poetic and lovely in the original Middle Italian, but it's not as accessible to the modern reader or as well-aged as other Medieval classics like the Decameron or El Cid. The average modern reader isn't going to know who all of these people being referred to are; some of them were people that were very well-known to a person of Dante's time, but unless you're a scholar of Medieval history, chances are you're not going to be too familiar with most of them. And most people also no longer study the ancient Greeks and Romans as thoroughly as students did in Dante's day; the average person won't know who all of these figures are, from either mythology or actual history, since most schools no longer have an emphasis on Greek, Latin, and the ancient world. If you constantly look down at the footnotes, the flow of the story is interrupted, but if you don't, you won't have much idea about what's going on.

    This book isn't just about presenting a work of beautiful poetry, which was inspired by Dante's great unrequited love Beatrice, in an attempt to immortalise this woman, this great love, for all time. It's also a not-so-subtle way of getting back at his enemies, by putting them in Hell or Purgatory, or having people "prophesise" what will happen to those enemies in the future. His supporters and the people whom he loves and admires are mostly in Purgatory and Paradise. It also really tows the Church line, with all of these different circles and rings of Hell for specific crimes (some of which, like suicide, homosexuality, and fortune-telling, are no longer considered sins or worthy of Hell today), and makes apologies for these horrible punishments. However, at least Dante is evolved enough to actually question the reason for why so and so is in Hell, or some point about Christian doctrine he doesn't understand, and he only comes to believe it is true and valid after he's had it explained to him (albeit by someone who has an agenda to get that pov across). At least he's questioning this stuff instead of accepting it blindly.

    Another dated thing about this book is that, what with the constant barrage of carnage on the news today, and whole generations who are familiar with images from concentration camps, war zones, suicide bombings, genocides, and school shootings, the average modern reader probably won't be too fazed by descriptions of people frozen in ice, people turning into monsters and then back into people, or Satan himself. But above all, despite the Church propaganda, plethora of references which mean nothing to the average modern reader, and Dante's way of getting revenge on his enemies by putting them in Hell, the overall themes are timeless. This is a story about rising from hopelessness and despair, to a place where people are miserable but have hope of getting better, and finally to more and more enlightened and beautiful places of joy, love, and peace. Dante's story begins when he wakes up in the Wood of Error, not sure how he got there or how he lost the true way, and the remedy for getting his life back on the right track is this both physical and symbolic journey from despair to hope.

    5-0 out of 5 stars 10 stars would not be enough!!
    The Divine Comedy" was written in Toscan by the Florentinian Dante Aligheri 700 years ago and is one of the most important texts ever written. Dante Aligheri is, along with Miguel de Cervantes, Willian Shakespeare and the Portuguese Luis de Camões, one of the most important writers of History, but we have to remember that Dante Alligheri was born some 250 years before each one of the latter.

    "The Divine Comedy" was first published in the beginning of the 14th century and narrates a vision Dante Alligheri had of his visit to Hell (Dante's Inferno), the Purgatory and to the Heavens (Paradiso), where he is guided by the Latin poet Virgil and later on by his muse, Beatrice, deceased some years before. His narrative is full of devout catholic sentiments and he spares no expenses in narrating the torments perpetrated in Hell, described in details, where each ring or level is reserved for each different earthly infraction that the penitent has commited when alive. The company of Virgil, a permanent resident of the first hell ring, the Limbo, is a magistral coup by Dante Aligheri and adds lustre to the text.

    Virgil leads Dante too through the Purgatory, where, contrary with what happens in the Inferno where there is no salvation, the souls are suffering with a view to a future life in Heaven. Dante is the first and only human being that put his feet into this after life regions, and things get increasingly intense and sometimes dangerous to him. Also to be noted is the disposition of Dante to here and there sting his earthly political opponents, which were not few, banning them to hellish confines.

    The final visit to the supreme heavenly region, where he meets Beatrice, is suffused with catholic symbology, fully explained by Dante, who embroiders the descriptions with all the richness of his language. You end the book asking for more, and sensing intensively the powerful richness of Dante's vocabulary. I hope you enjoy the Divine COmedy as much as I did. Good reading.

    3-0 out of 5 stars A bit overrated
    It may well be that I would rate this work higher if I could read it in the original. There's a great deal of energy behind it. But to me, something about it feels forced. When I read, e.g. Tolkien or Marion Zimmer Bradley, I don't have the sense that the author is answerable to any authority or has any agenda other than to write out from him- or herself -- other than to tell a good story which needs to be told. But it feels to me as if Dante made up his mind to write a great epic, and although the work clearly expresses his personal feeling as well -- his love for Beatrice and Virgil, for example --it was cleanly supportive of the Roman church. He was -- it seems to me -- in some measure being a good boy and in some measure venting for past wrongs, particularly in the Inferno. My favorite book is the Paradiso. There seems to me more there for the mytholgical mind to hold onto. But when I read Shakespeare or Goethe, something in me is deeply satisfied in a way it is not satisfied by Dante.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best There Ever Was
    This is, simply, the best translation of the greatest piece of literature ever written. Not even the works of Shakespeare can surpass Dante's towering epic and its multi-layered, symphonic grandeur. Ciardi's translation, as one other reviewer here has already stated, almost sounds Italian. It is fluid, accessible, and beautiful and doesn't attempt to painstakingly preserve Dante's terza rima, a rhyme scheme that is beyond the scope of the English language (in Italian, everything seems to rhyme with everything else). This work moved me unlike any other--Dante's journey through Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven is told with shocking genius and flawless detail. Every word is golden, every line contains a whole universe beneath its simple facade. The love, the effort, the genius, and the authenticity that went into this gloriously panoramic poem are without rival--nothing can compete with The Divine Comedy.

    5-0 out of 5 stars It's not a Real Story But I Think There's Somethin' We Might
    ...found important. Dante describes three places in this book. In hell are awful things: fire, ice, awful smell, pain. In purgatory there's less awful things. The paradise is described a place where is happy people. Well, some are very happy, some one are not so but aren't that sad either. The upper you are, the happier you are. The hell is desribed also like this. The lower you are the more pain you feel. There's different kinds of crimes that these people have done.

    This is a great book! I love it! It's quite long but you don't have to read it word by word. The pictures are also quite good! ... Read more

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