Selected Poems II: 1976 - 1986
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Selected Poems II: 1976 - 1986

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  556 ratings  ·  21 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, 160 pages
Published November 5th 1987 by Mariner Books (first published 1986)
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Because sometimes a poem is all it takes for me to come undone. For years and years, this poem. Always.
The Woman Who Could Not Live With Her Faulty Heart
Margaret Atwood

I do not mean the symbol
of love, a candy shape
to decorate cakes with,
the heart that is supposed
to belong or break;

I mean this lump of muscle
that contracts like a flayed biceps,
purple-blue, with its skin of suet,
its skin of gristle, this isolate,
this caved hermit, unshelled
turtle, this one lungful of blood,
no happy plateful.

All hea
Atwood writes her novels a bit like poetry, so reading her poetry feels very familiar to me. I love how in many of her poems she's giving a voice to an otherwise voiceless character in history/mythology. She has a lovely series of poems in here from Eurydice's point of view. I definitely have to go back and refresh my memory of these mythological stories to really get where the poem is coming from, but they are worth it.

Atwood's poetry is dark and funny and beautiful and graphic. Very powerful,...more
Long ago I was reading Mary Daly's Gynocology and the weight of its content had me bouncing off the walls of my little apartment and my exploding brain. I inarticulately mentioned this to the dykes next door and one of them said hey have you read this?

Such comfort in her precise and metered rage and grief, her helpless tenderness, her wry and self-doubting devotion to love. The woman who wrote these poems was so clearly living open-eyed in the world Daly described, never denying the relationship...more
Atwood, described by one poet as Mata Hara, doesn’t flinch from reporting humankind’s most violent, cruel, and grotesque moments.
She goes for the reader’s jugular. But she can also write exquisitely beautiful and entertainingly amusing pieces. Many of my favorite poems are about animals, aging, and vivid descriptions of the interior of our bodies: “All hearts float in their own/deep oceans of no light,/wetblack and glimmering,/their four mouths gulping like fish.” In “Flying inside Your Own Body...more
Helene Pilibosian
The author shows her usual brilliance in poems that mention women, children and grandmothers to be held in great respect. In one poem she describes a grandmotherthus "This one was a dancer who is now/a green streamer waved by its own breeze." As titles will indicate, Aging Female Poet Sits on the Balcony, she writes much about women. she loves her subjects and expresses sympathy for their discontents. I will certainly read more of her books.
i discovered margaret atwood way too late in life. poems like "more and more" & "morning in the burned house" are ones i really could have used when i was first deciding to become a writer, when i was terrified of the idea of becoming a poet. these are the kind of poems you hold tight.
Mixed feelings towards Atwood's poetry. Some of them were hands down amazing but the other ones bordered on meh.
Atwood is a poet I am quickly growing to love. She has quickly risen in the realm of my favorite poets and is sweetly overthrowing the others for the top spot. The lady is good at what she does. No one like her.
dix marie
In honor of national poetry month, i've been reading a lot of it. some of my faves from this collection are 'variations on the word love' and 'psalm to snake' and 'ageing female poet on laundry day'
Better known for her fiction, Margaret Atwood is a striking poet. Because I recently came across one of the poems in this book, I decided to reread. I love her voice.
Mar 15, 2008 Tessa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: pomes
Margaret drags her many scarves in the water and spends a lot of time looking at the ripples she creates, but most of the time I like to read about it.
There's nothing that Margaret Atwood can't write well. Shockingly good poems from someone who I largely consider a shockingly good fiction writer.
Mar 23, 2009 Amy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I teach Atwood in my classes, partly because I have to find something they can't google. I value her unsentimental approach to love.
Jul 24, 2009 J.M. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Took an Atwood class in college and this was one of the books we read. Though her poetry is very vivid, I enjoy her prose more.
These were okay. A few good ones here and there. The best was 'Variation On The Word Sleep.'
Hannah Jane
A lot of poems I liked, but "Last Day" was the only one that got me.
Cyndi Lu
the lyrical nature of her poetry is amazing. I melt into her poetry.
really amazing work. i think this is the first atwood I read.
Beverly J.
I tried, but I cannot understand this woman's work.
Even her poems enrapture me.
Pamela Huxtable
I'm going to have to buy Atwood's poetry collections. It was too hard to digest as a library loan. I think Atwood is just amazing, and I am forever grateful to my college friend Judy for introducing me to her.
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Sep 15, 2014
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  • Uncollected Poems
  • Sweet Machine
  • Meadowlands
  • This Clumsy Living
  • Life Studies and For the Union Dead
  • Collected Poems
  • Strike Sparks: Selected Poems, 1980-2002
  • Fuel
  • The Selected Poetry
  • What We Carry
  • The Collected Poems, 1945-1975
  • The Moon Is Always Female: Poems
  • The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984
  • She Had Some Horses
  • 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day
  • Crossing the Water
  • New and Collected Poems: 1931-2001
  • Poems New and Collected
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
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Variation on the Word Sleep

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head.

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear

I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.”
“I want, I don’t want.
How can one live with such a heart?”
More quotes…