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An Explanation of America

3.22  ·  Rating Details ·  46 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
From An Explanation of America

Robert Pinsky

Inexhaustible, delicate, as if
Without source or medium, daylight
Undoes the mind; the infinite,

Empty actual is too bright,
Scattering to where the road
Whispers, through a mile of woods

Later, how quiet the house is:
Dusk-like and refined,
The sweet Phoebe-note

Piercing from the trees;
The calm globe of the morning,
Things to rea
Paperback, 80 pages
Published August 21st 1979 by Princeton University Press (first published August 1st 1979)
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Ronald Wise
Jul 23, 2011 Ronald Wise rated it it was amazing
From the first to the last line of this poem, it was a stimulating experience. From the title I assumed Pinsky had attempted to define America and started to read it with some skepticism. I soon realized that definition was not his goal, but that his title intended a more transcendental sense of the word explanation.

I finished reading this poem ten days ago and I still find myself thinking frequently about some of its content - in particular one still image and a couple of brief visual clips. I
Apr 22, 2009 Paula rated it liked it
Apparently even Pinsky's early work is hit-and-miss. What I think he's trying to do, in addition to write a sort of poetic letter to his daughter, is mimic what Wordsworth does in "The Prelude." Except Pinsky's supposed to be talking about America instead of the imagination and its relationship to poetry.

I said "supposed to be" because much of what Pinsky does is quote other poems and writers--and I mean large, long spaces of quotations (which is something I even tell my students to avoid in th
Mar 02, 2010 Abraham rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This book takes on the challenge, so germane to Pinsky as poet and public figure, of proving that poetry is a superior forum for the discussion and examination of ideas. The book-length poem does exactly what it suggests, attempts to explain america in a fashion that is both politically opinionated and non-reductive, and at the same time, poetic. It is also an exercise in an update of the long form, so neglected by the lit mag culture of today.
Sep 03, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Okay it took me forever to read this just cos I'm just not much a reader of poetry - it challenges my literal-thinking brain, and that's a good thing. I don't know that I understood all of this but I found it interesting and really liked some of it.
Nov 15, 2010 H added it
Shelves: poetry-americas
an incredible modern lyric poem. proof that poetry can still be sacred invocation, not merely politic nor solipsism nor bumpkin decoration.
Jun 07, 2007 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Pinsky is one of only a handful of modern poets whose style I like. This is probably his best book of poetry.
Feb 19, 2008 Mikael rated it did not like it
i mean ure just begging EVERYone to say yer book doesnt explain anything let alone america pinskyboy
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Robert Pinsky is an American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. From 1997 to 2000, he served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Pinsky is the author of nineteen books, most of which are collections of his own poetry. His published work also includes critically acclaimed translations, including The Inferno of Dante Alighieri and The Separate Notebooks by ...more
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