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The Collected Shorter Poems of Kenneth Rexroth

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  105 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
This volume assembles Kenneth Rexroth's shorter poems from 1920 to 1966, bringing together work from seven earlier books and a group of previously unpublished poems.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 1st 1967 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1966)
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Community Reviews

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Jun 07, 2011 Kris rated it it was amazing
This is my desert island book. If I could choose only one book to read for the rest of my days this would be it. Perfect. Rexroth is THE most under-appreciated great writer of the 20th century.
Aug 15, 2015 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

While things were going on in Europe,
Our most used term of scorn or abuse
Was "bushwa." We employed it correctly,
But we thought it was French for "bullshit."
I lived in Toledo, Ohio,
On Delaware Avenue, the line
Between the rich and poor neighborhoods.
We played in the jungles by Ten Mile Creek,
And along the golf course in Ottawa Park.
There were two classes of kids, and they
Had nothing in common: the rich kids
Who worked as caddies, and the poor ki
Jun 30, 2017 metaphor rated it really liked it
Under this tree for a moment,
We have escaped the bitterness
Of love, and love lost, and love
Betrayed. And what might have been,
And what might be, fall equally
Away with what is, [...]
Jay Callahan
Oct 02, 2016 Jay Callahan rated it it was amazing
The best there is. Some books ring true, no matter what direction you come at them from. This is one.

Reading Rexroth's poems and essays will make you a better and wiser person. His current obscurity as a writer, and the scarcity of writers and people like him ,is an indication of the desperate straits our society is in.

Katie Bailey
Nov 09, 2008 Katie Bailey rated it really liked it
I knew I liked his translations, which I read in the City Lights anthology, but I am finally coming into his own poems. They are surprising, vintagey but delicious to sound out, and pleasingly intellectual. Sappho, Haydn, and the curves of Mt. Tam occupy the same neatly parsed space on the page.
Nov 17, 2008 P.D. rated it it was amazing
Also look for the collected longer poems of this seminal anarchist poet.
Tanyadee Reyes
Apr 03, 2008 Tanyadee Reyes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-and-poets
When I was a teenager, I loved Beat poetry. Arguably, Rexroth was a beat, but I believe his poems transcend those restraints.
I read this book 10 years ago, and I still love it.
May 31, 2008 George rated it it was amazing
This is one of my "desert island" books.
Zoe Griffin
Jan 14, 2013 Zoe Griffin rated it it was amazing
Love this book of poems!
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Kenneth Rexroth was an American poet, translator and critical essayist. He was among the first poets in the United States to explore traditional Japanese poetic themes and forms. He is regarded as a chief figure in the San Francisco Renaissance.
More about Kenneth Rexroth...

Share This Book

“There are sparkles of rain on the bright
Hair over your forehead;
Your eyes are wet and your lips
Wet and cold, your cheek rigid with cold.
Why have you stayed
Away so long, why have you only
Come to me late at night
After walking for hours in wind and rain?
Take off your dress and stockings;
Sit in the deep chair before the fire.
I will warm your feet in my hands;
I will warm your breasts and thighs with kisses.
I wish I could build a fire
In you that would never go out.
I wish I could be sure that deep in you
Was a magnet to draw you always home.

from "Runaway”

To think of you surcharged with
Loneliness. To hear your voice
Over the record say,
“Loneliness.” The word, the voice,
So full of it, and I, with
You away, so lost in it -
Lost in loneliness and pain.
Black and unendurable,
Thinking of you with every
Corpuscle of my flesh, in
Every instant of night
And day. O, my love, the times
We have forgotten love, and
Sat lonely beside each other.
We have eaten together,
Lonely behind our plates, we
Have hidden behind children,
We have slept together in
A lonely bed. Now my heart
Turns towards you, awake at last,
Penitent, lost in the last
Loneliness. Speak to me. Talk
To me. Break the black silence.
Speak of a tree full of leaves,
Of a flying bird, the new
Moon in the sunset, a poem,
A book, a person – all the
Casual healing speech
Of your resonant, quiet voice.
The word freedom. The word peace.”
More quotes…