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This book probably saved my life a couple of times when I badly needed to step out of myself and experience someone else's life in extreme and vivid particular... something I think is more possible with poetry than other mediums. The poems are about him and his wife going to the movies, shopping for used books, and hoping they don't die after eating mushrooms they picked in the wild as well as other poets, history, nature... but mostly they're a calm, no-bullshit assurance that we're all in this ...more
Robert Hass is a former Poet Laureate of the United States and this is his first book of poetry. As a poet Hass is mostly an autodidact, and he learned the art of poetry long before the poetry workshops became popular. This results in much freshness and variety of the forms that his poems take. And yet even in these early poems one can sense a lot of maturity and self-assurance in the use of language that oftentimes come with many years of experience. He is confident enough to be able to use eve ...more
Naming as poetry. A friend or two gave this to me and my husband after we moved to california, and we went on a trip with them, in the West, and they observed that we had become overly preoccupied, even ecstatic, with the naming of things, namely raptors, or hawks, and egrets and herons, and all the wild looking plants that appear in the West, crazy, over-scented flora, to the non-western eye. This book is the perfect companion to that obsession, of course it got there first. From "Letter" : "Yo ...more
I wanted to like this more than I did, as Robert Hass is one of the most lauded English-language poets alive. There are truly moments and lines that grabbed me, but on the whole, I had trouble feeling anything with this book. I'm not going to say there weren't times when I found myself nodding along in that sublime moment when the poet states some subtle truth about the world you didn't know you know, but in the words between these instances, I found myself bored, as though trudging through turg ...more
I really enjoyed most of the poems in this collection. There is a strange mix of natural imagery juxtaposed with social/political commentary. It shifts among beauty, eroticism and the disturbing, perhaps being so close to the natural world, even the title “Field Guide” presents the idea that it is a reference for the wild, we see that people aren’t so removed from our animal counterparts. Maybe the trouble lies in ignoring that on some level we are made up of animal instincts, it’s an idea that ...more
Field Guide is Robert Hass' first volume. An experimental assortment of poetry that uses images of the California landscape, as well as images of everyday life, as a form of meditation. Interesting poems, thought provoking and strangely positive. The poems also explore many forms and through them Hass is looking for his voice.
Robert Hass was born in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley, California, where he teaches at the University of California. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. A MacArthur Fellow and a two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, he has published poems, literary essays, and translations. He is married to the poet Brenda Hillman.More about Robert Hass...