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Next to Nothing: Collected Poems, 1926-1977
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Next to Nothing: Collected Poems, 1926-1977

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  1 review
This slim volume collects Bowles' poetry, from his earliest youthful Surrealist lyrics ("A dull pearl evening presses down flat over all the land . . ".) to the longer narrative title poem and several other brief lyrics from the seventies ("No voice could be enough, what with this and that, / and the hours falling faster").
Paperback, 77 pages
Published March 1st 1981 by Black Sparrow Press
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If you find Mary Oliver’s collection interesting, then you should also check out Next To Nothing: Collected Poems: 1926-1977 by Paul Bowles. Bowles is one of my top three writers (along with Camus and Steinbeck). My favorite poem from his collected poems is Nights. It was written in 1977 and is transcribed below:

There have been times, what with this and that,
when the whisper of words was not enough.
On some shelf of memory lies a misplaced summer,
one not stored away for later savoring.
Surely it e
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Paul Bowles grew up in New York, and attended college at the University of Virginia before traveling to Paris, where became a part of Gertrude Stein's literary and artistic circle. Following her advice, he took his first trip to Tangiers in 1931 with his friend, composer Aaron Copeland.

In 1938 he married author and playwright Jane Auer (see: Jane Bowles). He moved to Tangiers permanently in 1947,
More about Paul Bowles...
The Sheltering Sky Let it Come Down The Stories of Paul Bowles The Spider's House Collected Stories, 1939-1976

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“Each Whining Thing (1929)

When stripèd snakes shall creep upon us
And the nervous screams of birds
Make silent all the fountains and the orchards and when these
Have caught upon the wing each wing
That flutters from the sky
Then shall I and then shall I
Rip out the smiles from garden walks
Transform the minnows into hawks
Tarantulas and bees
Then shall I and then shall I
Unmake each whining thing.”
“Scene VI (1940)

It is our fault we love only the skull of Beauty
Without knowing who she was, of what she died.
We have the thief's guilt, but not his booty,
The liar's spasm without ever having lied.
The sick locust scrapes his injured song,
His thorax only partially destroyed.
Retching is prohibited. It's wrong.
The murderer feels no hate he can avoid.

Now flies bite worst where the skin is broken.
Illness triumphs. Lesions. Soon tumors sprout.
The bloated plants quiver, the seeds will be shaken.
'Your head's bashed in, darling. Look out.”
More quotes…