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Endpoint and Other Poems Endpoint and Other Poems

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  243 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
A stunning collection of poems that John Updike wrote during the last seven years of his life and put together only weeks before he died for this, his final book.
The opening sequence, "Endpoint,"" "is made up of a series of connected poems written on the occasions of his recent birthdays and culminates in his confrontation with his final illness. He looks back on theboy t
ebook, 112 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Mike Lindgren
Apr 20, 2009 Mike Lindgren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It was always hard not to be secretly a little annoyed at the late John Updike for being… well, so good at everything. The famous novels aside, memoir, travel reportage, children's literature, humor, literary criticism and essays on everything from Renaissance painting to Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams poured from his typewriter.

Despite seven previous collections of verse, dating back to 1958, he was perhaps least known for his poetry. "Endpoint and Other Poems" may change that. The slender v
Donovan Richards
Would You Rather

If you had your choice between a quick, painless death and a long, drawn out, painful death. Which would you choose?

For me, there’s no easy answer. On one side, a quick death allows for an elimination of pain. Let’s be honest; pain is no fun.

But with a quick, painless death, you don’t have a chance to say goodbye. You don’t have a chance to finish the last tasks on your bucket list, to say goodbye to those closest to you.

Nobody wants to face death; I can think of nothing more unp
Aug 30, 2014 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved-it, poetry
This being my first John Updike book, I didn't really know what to expect; I was, however, pretty impressed. He was able to make the most mundane things into the most fascinating, simply by his phrasing. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this book of poems. My only side note, and I do not mean this in a negative way, is to not read this when you are feeling a little sad. I say this because the whole novel revolves around Updike's impending death, and this can become a little depressing, especial ...more
Oct 29, 2009 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Althought I usually complain about publishers putting out excerpts or very thin anthologies disguised as "gift books"--like the Auden collection put out solely to tie to the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral--I actually would have preferred the publisher put out the long poem "Endpoint" out as a separate book. Although I cringe to speak ill of the dead, the back half of this book is sort of...thin. I used to wonder how on earth Updike was so ridiculously prolific, until I realized he was one of ...more
Kara Jacobs
I only gave this 3 stars because the last third of the book left me cold. The first 2/3 though--wow! A series of poems written on his birthday during the last several tears, and some amazing poems written the day he got the biopsy, while in the hospital during the last month of his life, etc. He really brings you with him to a very strange and suspended edge.
Gary Anderson
Oct 13, 2009 Gary Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updike's poems about his impending death are somewhere between poignant and devastating.

I also like the poems about things that don't exactly seems poetical: a vacation home, Tucson's crime rate, a colonoscopy. Some of the poems seem like throwaways, but the good ones remind us that Updike was one of our time's most important writers.
Liz Gray
Nov 27, 2016 Liz Gray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updike's last collection of poetry (he died in 2009) was written during the last seven years of his life, and the poems range from contemplations of mortality, reflections on the people and places of his youth, and a series of sonnets inspired by places both distant from and close to home. Updike's language is wry, pointed and sometimes wistful, but never in a cloying way. My favorite lines are found in "Endpoint," the first section, in a poem titled "Spirit of '76:" "Be with me, words, a little ...more
David Waterman
Oct 12, 2010 David Waterman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Endpoint and Other Poems
John Updike
Random House, 2009

-Past, Present, and an Imminent Future

When reading this book of poetry, it becomes painfully obvious that Updike was worried about his rapidly approaching death when he wrote it. Although, perhaps he was more curious than worried. Published in 2009, the year he died, this book is constantly referencing the poet’s mortality, but in a way that feels almost lighthearted. The title poem, which opens the book, is broken into seventeen sections, m
Robert Beveridge
John Updike, Endpoint (Knopf, 2009)

The first John Updike book I read was Midpoint, his 1969 collection of poetry, published when he was thirty-seven. I was going to try and make some sort of inane comparison with Endpoint, Updike's final book, published posthumously, but I figure that fact that Midpoint actually ended up almost being an exact midpoint makes any point I was going to make there far more elegantly than I would have. And while Updike's poetry has gotten a great deal more conservativ
Feb 08, 2016 Curtis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, poetry
John Updike said that his writing career began in 1954 when the New Yorker accepted one of his poems. However, most of us think of Updike as a novelist. After all, he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice- Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1991). He also won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award for fiction. I didn't expect much from Endpoint: And Other Poems. However, I was curious how the iconic writer summarized his final days via this posthumous volume ...more
ej cullen
Updike found mastery within the short story. His novels, though flawed, are nevertheless always good reading. His poetry, uber- witty and urbane, rarely (but sometimes) rises to the level of the clever, insightful, gifted vision of the schoolboy and scholar that always, from his strongest work sprung forth. This thin volume of poems, a follow-up to the more playful 'Midpoint' (1969), he wrote when he knew he was dying. The final poem to his wife, "For Martha, On Her Birthday After Her Cataract O ...more
Feb 18, 2016 James rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
John Updike is justly remembered as one of the great American novelists. He also published eight volumes of poetry. I picked this up from the library because I have appreciated a couple of his poems I've read (like the one about resurrection). The title of this collection comes from the first section, a poem (or series of poems?) about Updike's last several birthdays and his final illness. There is also a section of 'other poems' that have poems of Updike's remembrances of friends, reflections o ...more
Jul 01, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
This collection of poems, written during the last seven years of Updike's life, allows the reader to share in the poet's sadness as he realizes he is reaching the end of his life. The poems are intimate and emotional. Updike writes, for example, about being hospitalized, and having a needle biopsy showing his cancer has metastasized. A sense of regret and resignation flows through his poems about spending his winters in Tucson to avoid the harsh New England winters. He reminisces about his young ...more
Gary Baughn
Dec 26, 2012 Gary Baughn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars only if you like Updike to begin with, and also only if you like reading poems. I usually like anthologies of poetry on an occasional basis, but Updike has always fascinated me, and this last collection of his, although it concentrates on his impending death, has enough of his wit and eye for detail to make up for its mostly single-minded focus on health issues.
Besides, who else would have poems about Doris Day, Payne Stewart and Monica Lewinsky? Not to mention one poem contemplating
Oct 27, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved many of these poems, esp. the birthday poems at the beginning. Some of the later ones got a bit too involved with wordplay, seemed a bit overdone. (This is apparently Updike's biggest fault, but I still love his beautiful writing.) Overall feeling was that Updike was just waiting to die... and it was very illuminating to read these last poems, written from a point of life that not many people have written about (for instance, on IV in a hospital when your relatives are all visiting to say ...more
Raimo Wirkkala
Aside from the poignant ruminations on his own mortality, the subjects that Updike has chosen for his poems are rather banal. Tools? TV? Colonscopy? His left hand? One of the knocks on Updike has always been that he is more technician than artist and this final collection of poems will only buttress that particular criticism. There is a final collection of his non-fiction prose (Higher Gossip) that I am looking forward to.
Anu Healing
Apr 13, 2013 Anu Healing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From start to finish I loved this book. Poetry is a beautiful thing. This man wrote his remaining life in poems for us to know what he was thinking and feeling, yes I loved every page. I'm looking into reading more if his work even though he never wanted to called a poet I would have to call him one.
Jan 14, 2013 Reader50 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I would give this 2.5 stars but in all fairness, I'm not much into poetry in general. I have yet to learn to appreciate and enjoy the genre but hope to continue to reading and gain more of an appreciation of it. I did enjoy reading Updike's poems which were very personal and near the end of his life, quite moving.
Nov 05, 2009 Vmillerstumpf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always love Updike's poetry. This last collection before he died is no exception. His lifelong crush on Doris Day in his poem to her is adorable and eloquent... as are his painfully insightful verses on aging and death.
Jul 15, 2014 False rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I've read this before (and loved it,) but after reading the new Updike biography I wanted to go back and read it again, searching for life reference points (which I found in spades.) Really fine poems, especially those written about old age and his future demise.
Jun 17, 2009 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Updike's poetry is as incisive as his prose, and in this book, he handles topics ranging from Doris Day to his own impending death with unbelievable grace. His form is excellent, his subjects common and lovely, and this work is absolutely worth reading.
Aug 25, 2013 Craig rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought the first section of the book - his "birthday poems" - was quite qood... Thoughtful, well-spoken.

The rest of the book, though. Well... I loathe to say it about a book of poetry, but I honestly felt bored trying to slog my way through it.
Mar 03, 2010 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I've read and enjoyed many of Updike's novels, and I knew he wrote short stories, but I didn't realize his literary versatility extended to poetry as well. There's a lot of variety in this collection, the last that he put together before he died.
Olga Alexandrova
I love his prose and i loved his poetry. The collection of his poems is very prosaic and very real to me.
Nov 15, 2009 Jason rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice prose.
Aug 15, 2009 Rick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting language, not too memorable.
Sam Baber
May 02, 2009 Sam Baber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updike's final poems are suffused w/a haunting nostalgia, sharp wit and beautiful imagery.
Dec 01, 2009 Clifford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I especially enjoyed the Endpoint poems, which are memoir-in-verse. The rest of the book is good, too, but not quite as compelling.
Susan Katz
Jul 19, 2009 Susan Katz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This collection includes some very powerful poems written in the last months of Updike's life.
Jun 30, 2012 Jean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Updike is my favorite author and this book did not disappoint. Easy to read compilation of stories and poems.
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John Hoyer Updike was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, havin ...more
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