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Selected Poems: 1965-1975

4.18  ·  Rating Details ·  1,223 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Celebrated as a major novelist throughout the English-speaking world, Atwood has also written eleven volumes of poetry. Houghton Mifflin is proud to have published SELECTED POEMS, 1965-1975, a volume of selections from Atwood's poetry of that decade.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 5th 1987 by Mariner Books (first published 1976)
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63rd out of 88 books — 38 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,566)
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Jul 01, 2014 Arah-Lynda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ahhh-poetry
Game After Supper

This is before electricity,
it is when there were porches.

On the sagging porch an old man
is rocking. The porch is wooden,

the house is wooden and grey;
in the living room which smells of
smoke and mildew, soon
the woman will light the kerosene lamp.

There is a barn but I am not in the barn;
there is an orchard too, gone bad,
its apples like soft cork
but I am not there either.

I am hiding in the long grass
with my two dead cousins,
the membrane grown already
across their throats.

We hear cric

Is there anything this woman can't do? I don't think so. Some things are better than others, and not everything engages, but she's remarkable and a favorite.

No one maps the terrain of intimate relationships quite like she does, and over the years I've appreciated the release her words have provided during many inarticulate moments. That's what poetry does best, or should -- it articulates depths of feeling and experience for which most us can find no words.

Atwood's stories often do that as wel
Aug 15, 2016 Ju$tin rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
I think most people on this planet 18+ could write a better poetry book than this one
Jan 27, 2009 Dusty rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
I read a scattered few of Atwood's poems in college classes and textbooks, and a few months ago I read her spin on the story of Odysseus, Penelopiad, but only now that I've consumed about 250 pages of her poems do I have a solid picture of her as a writer. This collection is a bit of a monster -- it includes excerpts from six separate works (many of which are themselves divided into smaller works) and spans the first ten years of her career -- and for the first hundred pages or so I resented the ...more
Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle
Jun 07, 2012 Dang Ole' Dan Can Dangle rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
There were only a handful of poems that I liked in this book and the rest were meh. The thing is the ones I did like, I REALLY liked. Weirdly enough my favorite poem of the book was the first one.

Most of Atwood's poems seemed, to me, to go nowhere and have no apparent meaning. She can be very descriptive and even tell deep stories with her poems, creating great imagery and what-not but really it was just kind of confusing most of the time.

Granted, you can read one poem ten times and have a diff
Sep 01, 2015 Rhianna rated it liked it
Now that I've finished all of her novels and short stories (until the new one comes out later this month!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I've had to move on to her poetry.

Poetry still isn't really my favorite thing to read, but some of these were pretty great.
Mar 01, 2016 Kath rated it liked it
As the title clearly states, this is a selection of Atwood's poetry from her early years. It includes selections from previously published works, THE CIRCLE GAME (1966), THE ANIMALS IN THAT COUNTRY (1968), THE JOURNALS OF SUSANNA MOODIE (1970), PROCEDURES FOR UNDERGROUND (1970), POWER POLITICS (1971) and YOU ARE HAPPY (1974).

The first few books were a bit too intimate for me. Many of the poems seemed like they are direct comments on her relationships with men, and it was just a bit too revealin
Sep 23, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first saw this in the store, I thought "Margaret Atwood writes poems?" I have come to know her exclusively through her prose, so I was curious to see what her verse does. There are some familiar touches here. Atwood's poetry still puts emphasis on the sublime and on subtle horror, although the earlier section of the book lacks the sense of disillusionment that defines much of her prose. Perhaps my favorite poem in the collection, "More and More," crafts a lovely extended metaphor about th ...more
Jan 18, 2012 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadia, poetry, 2012
Everything Atwood writes is really bleak. I like that.
Jun 14, 2014 Glen rated it liked it
Her talent for imagery is undeniable, but this collection, the bulk of which are about relationships, are relentlessly negative and, cumulatively, depressing, to me at least. I do like the way in which landscape and psychology interweave and blend in her work, but not even the selections from the (ironically?) entitled "You Are Happy" (suggested subtitle: "And I'll Fix That!") broke the spell of poems about failed relationships, disappointment, and violence or the threat thereof. Not recommended ...more
Aug 28, 2016 Alarie rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I read volume II of Atwood’s Selected Poems first, assuming that a good poet would get better with time. I was right. However, Atwood is so very wonderful with her deliciously dark poems, dry wit, and dramatic dialogues that I couldn’t resist going back for more. The very first poem in this book shows why I keep coming back to her. Titled “This Is a Photography of Me,” she chills us to the bone when she gets to “The photograph was taken/the day after I drowned.”

Particularly appealing to me were
Aug 14, 2008 beauregard rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
from Power Politics

What is it, it does not
move like love, it does
not want to stroke, unfold

it does not even want to
touch, it is more like
an animal (not
loving) a
thing trapped, you move
wounded, you are hurt, you hurt,
you want to get out, you want
to tear yourself out, i am

the outside, i am snow and
space, pathways, you gather
yourself, your muscles

clutch, you move
into me as though i
am (wrenching
your way through, this is
urgent, it is your
life) the
last chance for freedom

More and More

More and more frequ
Apr 27, 2012 T. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favourites
Written February 14, 2007:

Becausea friendhas mentioned Atwood and Horowitz, I bring out the beer stashed under my bed in case of emergencies. And this moment seems to be pressing, somewhere, something is breaking, inside my body. I put on George Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor, and then, this.

There is time to smoke, in a while. For now, a poem:
I Was Reading a Scientific Article
Margaret Atwood

They have photographed the brain
and here is the picture, it is full of
branches as I always suspec
Katie Herring
Jun 19, 2014 Katie Herring rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: verse
My favorite poem in this collection was "Dream 2: Brian the Still-Hunter." I liked its form and its ending. "When I woke / I remembered: he has been gone / twenty years and not heard from." That ending threw me for a loop! --And I love that! To me, a poem has to tell a story or give you some feeling. Most of Atwood's poetry does give feeling - but not the kind I want to feel.

There were a few lines that I really liked too, but I think I'll try one of her novels next!
Taylor Quinn
Aug 02, 2014 Taylor Quinn rated it really liked it
You held out your hand
I took your fingerprints

You asked for love
I gave you only descriptions

Please die I said
so I can write about it

After all you are quite
ordinary: 2 arms 2 legs
a head, a reasonable
body, toes & fingers, a few
eccentricities, a few honesties
but not too many, too many
postponements & regrets but

you'll adjust to it, meeting
deadlines and other
people, pretending to love
the wrong woman some of the
time, listening to your brain
shrink, your diaries
expanding as you grow older
Portia S
Jun 03, 2015 Portia S rated it really liked it
Early work usually an interesting place to go back to after you've absorbed a poet's refined style. These were wonderful with her usual story like pieces wrenching at my heart.
Nov 25, 2013 Robin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: i-own-a-copy, poetry
Oh my, young Margaret Atwood has a lot to say about language, relationships, settlers, much to say! I'm totally biased, because I already love Atwood, but her poetry is pretty badass. Some of my favorite clips:

"Love is not a profession
genteel or otherwise

sex is not dentistry
the slick fillng of aches and cavities
permit yourself anger
and permit me mine

which needs neither
your approval nor your surprise"

"Last year I abstained
this year I devour

without guilt
which is also an art"

K8 Rowan
Aug 30, 2016 K8 Rowan rated it it was amazing
It is astounding how many quality words flow out of this woman. Her poetry is quite accessible, but don't think it simple.
Kim Ward
Nov 26, 2014 Kim Ward rated it really liked it
as good a poet as she is a fiction writer
Jul 16, 2010 Joje rated it it was amazing
I need to go back to this one more. There are groupings of poems that I have forgotten the reason for, but that's okay, I trust her writing.
"Unfortunately I don't have leaves.
Instead I have eyes
and teeth and other non-green
things which rule out osmosis.

So be careful, I mean it,
I give you a fair warning:''

I close in mid poem where I began citing ("More and More". Soon again, and time to get the next set of years, seems to me, although I've read several of those, too, over the past years when the
Jun 14, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
Shelves: poems
I love Margaret Atwood. I want to love Margaret Atwood. Other than Alice Walker, John Donne, or Anne Sexton, I'm not much into or think I can relate to the poetry I read, however. Atwood is parts nature, parts history, parts you don't bring me flowers. The dietician in me really liked this one:

"I say I will transform
this egg into a muscle
this bottle into an act of love

This onion will become a motion
this grapefruit
will become a thought."

SELECTED POEMS by Margaret Atwood

I thought I was going to love this collection of poetry, but I didn't. The other poetry I've read recently I liked a lot more than this, and those others weren't anything special. Not my taste in poetry. I give it (a generous) 2 stars.

"a word
exploding from you in gold, crimson,
unrolling in a brilliant scroll"

Overall Opinion:

My Blog
Melissa Jackson
May 24, 2010 Melissa Jackson rated it really liked it
Beautiful, clear, steady, and powerful poems. They get substantially better/stronger when she hits the 1971 mark. The "Power Politics" collection is incredible. Atwood's mind and words are fortifying.

"My right hand unfolds rivers
around you, my left hand releases its trees
I speak rain.
I spin you on a night and you hide in it."
Mar 16, 2008 Stevelvis rated it did not like it
i haven't finished reading this collection of poetry yet, and honestly i'm not sure i'm going to finish it. i like some of the imagery in these poems but the imagery doesn't seem to connect to a bigger picture to evoke any meaning for me. i just don't feel like this collection of words is speaking to me.
Feb 24, 2013 Divya rated it liked it
I read Atwood for the first time in my textbooks, there were some finest pieces of her poetry. this collection is not up to that mark. few of the poems are superbly composed & few are just average.
Feb 28, 2011 uh8myzen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: canadian, poetry
I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood's work, but in my opinion, her poetry surpasses all of her other work. She has a gift for the art of verse and biting imagery.
Kevin Fanning
Nov 23, 2008 Kevin Fanning rated it it was ok
Overall not generally to my taste, with a few amazing exceptions ("Habitation," "Their attitudes differ," "After all you are quite," "At first I was given centuries").
Feb 24, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite fiction writers, and her poetry is kickass, too. My favorites are "Speeches for Dr Frankenstein" and the CIRCE/MUD poems.
Nov 30, 2011 Mariana rated it really liked it
I continue reading through Margaret Atwood. Her versatility astounds me. In the ten years that these poems span, it is good to watch her growth as a poet.
Oct 23, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
I always seem to read this collection when I'm down. I think these were her best poems - the ones thereafter are not so thrilling.
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FABClub (Female A...: Selected Poems 1965-1975 group discussion 5 7 May 01, 2015 09:50AM  
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Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr
More about Margaret Atwood...

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Eating Fire

Eating fire

is your ambition:
to swallow the flame down
take it into your mouth
and shoot it forth, a shout or an incandescent
tongue, a word
exploding from you in gold, crimson,
unrolling in a brilliant scroll

To be lit up from within
vein by vein

To be the sun”
“though the real question is
whether or not I will make you immortal.”
More quotes…