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4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,023 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Former Poet Laureate Robert Hass's Praise, the writer's second volume of poetry (1979).
Paperback, 80 pages
Published July 10th 1999 by Ecco (first published 1979)
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May 11, 2007 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poets and sailors alike.
Shelves: poetryfavorites
This is one of my favorite books of poetry written in the last thirty years. I'm mentioning it on here because it's been such a useful tool for me as a writer. It includes some really famous poems, such as "Meditation at Lagunitas." That, you can find online here:

It's a sort of elegy to language, with a few jabs at deconstructionism, all mixed with a heavy dose of lyrical beauty....

But there are other poems in the book that I continually return to when I a
I've also been reading from Hass's book of essays recently, Twentieth Century Pleasures, and it is interesting for me to think of how these poems of "praise" coincide with his idea of the poet as creator. There is in these poems a sensitivity to the role of language not just as a medium, but a possibly successful medium.
Nov 26, 2009 Rick rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I first read Praise, the second book of poems published by Hass, a decade or so ago. What always stayed with me from the first reading was the half-dozen italicized lines that began section one, “We asked the captain what course / of action he proposed to take toward / a beast so large, terrifying, and / unpredictable. He hesitated to / answer, and then said judiciously: / ‘I think I shall praise it.’” When I recently picked it up to get the wording precisely right for “I think I shall praise it ...more
Cynthia Harrison
I love poetry and I love Robert Hass. The first poem in this book knocked me out. It's so short and yet it has stuck with me all these years. I'd quote a line, but every word is essential. I like to start out my day by reading a bit of poetry. Maybe a poem or two. And Hass never disappoints.
Andrew Kubasek
An excellent book of poetry, but didn't quite live up to "Field Guide" in my opinion. Reading the two collections back-to-back made this especially noticeable. Still, great stuff from beginning to end. A 4.5, but just short of 5 stars, even if I can't pinpoint why.
I enjoyed this collection but not NEARLY as much as Time and Materials. Despite the reputation of Praise as a seminal poetic text of its period, I would begin an exploration of Hass's poetry with Time and Materials.
Thought-provoking, lighted and shadowed poems that explore the conflicts between nature, civilization, and self. The title expresses a kind of paradox, I think. I enjoyed these poems. I marked many to read again and again.
Once upon a time, I was a naive college freshman who felt that contemporary poetry just wasn't for me: I felt that I didn't "get" modern poetry and that I just couldn't relate to it. Then, one day, I read Robert Hass's poem "Meditation at Lagunitas," and I was like, "Oh!"

After that, there was no turning back.

My favorite poems in this sublime collection, besides "Meditation at Lagunitas," are "Heroic Simile" and "Against Botticelli." All three are poems in which Hass masterfully combines intellec

I love this book for its sparing language. I mean, here are some truly difficult, dark, if hopeful, poems, carried by the most delicate, pared down lines. Also, the collection is full of exploratory form / break from standard.

Several of the poems seem to have an almost Japanese aesthetic, or a sort of leaping Bly would appreciate, as in "The Yellow Bicycle":

"The woman I love is greedy,
but she refuses greed.
She walks so straightly,
when I ask her what she wants,
she says, 'A yellow bicycle.'"

Technically just read through it, but I'm going to be rereading certain parts throughout the summer. I started it because "Heroic Simile" is an amazing poem, and I'm definitely working my way through others that I really loved. "Songs to Survive the Summer" is quiet an adventure, and pretty appropriate at the moment.
One of the more luminous collections I've read in a long time! A classic for a reason!
I read this book many years ago and it taught me the importance of questioning in poetry. As a young and naive undergrad, I thought that poems were supposed to answer all of the world's problems. This book showed me the beauty of oblivion. "Sunrise" is still one of my favorite poems. . ."Ah, love. This is fear. This is fear and syllables and the beginning of beauty." This book was assigned by poet/teacher Don Morrill, who's work is also beautiful in their oblivion.
Amazing. Certainly there is an exactitude to the diction, the line, form. There is careful observation and emotion and philosophy and risk. There is an excess of humanity, a largeness of heart. It is perfect.

"Sometimes it is good and sometimes / it is dangerous like the ignorance / of particulars, but our words are clear / and our movements give off light."

Also I'd like to add that this book is incredibly well-suited to be read in mid-July in a warm climate.
This collection does start off with my favorite modern poem, Against Botticelli. 20 years later, I can still recite the poem, and its cadence, emotion and word choice seem to me to be perfect. I do understand that many people find a particular stanza gratuitous and obscene, but I think it fits with the emotions Hass is conveying. I can't give it 5 stars because there is such a range of quality of the poems, in my opinion.
The grunge fiction Gen X writers got so hung up about did get a little stale after a while. However, if there was ever a seminal piece of Australian grunge fiction, this would be my pick. This book should hit a few nerves for anyone who has lived through a time of crummy share housing, excess cask wine and flaky relationships. For me, it's the dark counterpart to 'He Died With a Falafel in His Hand' and just as good.
I'm a bit of a poetry neophyte, but there were some poems that stuck with me. "Old Dominion" was a particular favorite, an outsider wearing borrowed clothes ruminating about the influences on their life.

Unfortunately, this time I was forced to read this work in several different sittings, but I think it might be better to read the entire collection in as few sessions as possible to take the book as a whole.
Mar 07, 2008 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
My favorite Hass book. Despite the long poem at the end, I feel like this book is well thought out and makes a complete whole. I don't dislike the long poem at the end, it just doesn't feel integral to the book, like it had nowhere else to go. I guess you can do that when you are Robert Hass.
Though I am secretly disappointed that the collection isn't Moby Dick II: The Quest Continues, to go along with the book's brilliant epigraph of compelled captain and terrifying beast, these poems' wide range yet ultimate coherence alongside each other is another kind of mastery.
I have said to groups of poets, "And who doesn't love Robert Hass?" and been quickly shot down, because apparently not everyone does love Hass, but to me, he is brilliant. He breaks all the rules and his poems are have intense depth--plus they are incredibly human.
Christina Olivares
loved this book for the epigraph:

“We asked the captain what course / of action he proposed to take toward / a beast so large, terrifying, and / unpredictable. He hesitated to / answer, and then said judiciously: / 'I think I shall praise it.'”
Jaw-droppingly good. He's one of those poets that induces fleeting sensations of taking you out of your moment and into a plane of existence where the truth is crystal clear.
If you only ever read or purchase one book of poetry in your life, let this be the one. Accessible, but profound, and not a single weak poem among them.
Sep 11, 2007 Li rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people that understand poetry
I usually feel like I should have an automatic towards or away from any form of writing. I really don't know how to read this any reccomendation is welcome
Tim Lepczyk
This was a quiet collection that moves through the natural world as Field Guide did and also toward the realm of people and their relationships.
May 04, 2008 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who are not afraid of some man poems
Shelves: poetry
'Meditation at Lagunitas' makes me quiver, satisfies all my discontents with language and learning.

Of course Hass is it; Milosz was his neighbor.
Still my favorite among Hass's wonderful books of poetry! Gorgeous, memorable work, deeply rooted in both the human and natural worlds.
The "gothic traceries of poplar" were nice, but I'm still perplexed by "The Yellow Bicycle".
All of the new thinking is about loss.
In this it resembles all the old thinking.
Gary McDowell
Read through library loan.

Buy: in this one he uses the half verse half prose form.
Jun 17, 2007 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Whitney
this guy is so smart it makes libraries cry. this book is just plain awesome.
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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...
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“Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances.” 22 likes
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