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Collected Poems

4.43  ·  Rating Details ·  174 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in 1972 has been in print for over 35 years. This is a new edition of this multi-prize winning book issued to coincide with publisher Wesleyan Univesity Press' fiftieth anniversary. Indexed.
Paperback, 220 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Wesleyan University Press (first published 1970)
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Dec 15, 2011 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I may skip a detailed review on this, simply because poetry reviews are a real ass kicker for me. Like work. But, that said, it deserves one. Wright is one best poets I've read (and I've read A LOT). One reason for this is that he's SO American in his settings and voice. If you like Whitman, you should like this guy. But for me he speaks more directly to the post WW 2 American consciousness. Hell, updating things a bit, he speaks directly to the post financial meltdown consciousness. Wright's Am ...more
Usually, as you read a book, you learn more and more about it. But sometimes, as you read a book, you learn more and more about yourself.

Such was the case with James Wright's Collected Poems. Containing poems, as it does, from early in Wright's career to late, you watch his progression from formal poet accomplished in rhyme, to freelance poet extraordinaire, to experimental poet as he listens for fate's footsteps.

What did I learn? I'm not a fan of form poetry or of rhyming poetry. Subtle rhymes,
The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
There they are, the moon's young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.
Jen Well-Steered
I wonder how many poets out there were writing about North Dakota? Or about the shame of your teenage sister getting knocked up in the 1960s?
Caleb Benadum
May 12, 2013 Caleb Benadum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
James Wright's poetry is incredibly beautiful. This book provides a wonderful overview of his poetry, since it contains poems from his early days as well as his later, and his style changed dramatically during that time. He was heavily influenced by Robert Bly and the Spanish Surrealists, and moved to a very sincere form of poetry. That is what I love about this book, is that it is, above all things, honest.
Feb 18, 2012 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i don't dare finish reading any single poem in this collection. the words are of such precision they are like incantations. if i follow them through to the end, my life will be required to change. i will be altered, perhaps transformed.
David Schaafsma
Certainly one of my all time favorite collections.
Dec 02, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, part of an unintentional Minnesota Writer's kick.
Kyle Schnitzer
Sep 23, 2014 Kyle Schnitzer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great autumn primer.
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  • Walking to Martha's Vineyard
  • The Waking: Poems: 1933 - 1953
  • Repair
  • Selected Poems
  • New and Collected Poems
  • Heart's Needle
  • Selected Poems
  • The Carrier of Ladders
  • Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems
  • Moy Sand and Gravel
  • Black Zodiac
  • The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue
  • New Hampshire
  • Practical Gods
  • Different Hours
  • Failure
  • The Morning of the Poem
  • Selected Poems
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

On December 13, 1927, James Arlington Wright was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio. His father worked for fifty years at a glass factory, and his mother left school at fourteen to work in a laundry; neither attended school beyond the eighth grade. While in high school in 1943 Wrig
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