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The Morning of the Poem

4.53 of 5 stars 4.53  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Paperback, 128 pages
Published April 1st 1981 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1980)
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The Morning of the Poem may be Schuyler's most acclaimed collection (awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1981) but it's my least favourite of the collections I've read (including The Crystal Lithium and Hymn to Life).

The collection is broken into three parts: "New Poems", "The Payne Whitney Poems", and "The Morning of the Poem". There are many similarities between the first and second part, being the accumulation of shorter poems, whereas the third part consists entirely of one longer poem.
Liking Schuyler’s poetry is like liking vacations or puppies—you know everyone else likes it, too, but the appreciation’s no less personal for the awareness that it’s shared with many others. The trick has something to do with Schuyler’s way of turning familiar domestic enjoyments into occasions for perceiving the mind’s syntax at work in organizing data into feeling, like letters or diary entries but with an understated finish and light application of “elevated” language that gives them a more ...more
I first read this a few years ago, and it remains one of a very few books of poetry I've read in the last ten years. Schuyler is always more coherent than Ashbery, though in the shorter pieces in this collection, Schuyler fails to make the strong, though random, impressions that Ashbery makes at his best.

However, the long poem Morning of the Poem which reads more like a story, the calmed ravings of a superficial man far past his prime, living in a trance of memory in western New York, is magnifi
They tell us that the author has long since bought the farm (so to speak). But James Schuyler makes it difficult to put that principle into practice. This is because The Morning of the Poem occupies a middle ground between poetry and diary entry, which means that it makes just about as much sense to read these poems without an eye to Schuyler's biography as it would to read someone's journal qua an (inter)textual object devoid of any authorial/psychological intent.

Indeed, Schuyler's knack for me
I love his casual yet precise, start in the middle and off and running, tender, thoughtful poems. This collection has the long Morning of the Poem which is so full and layered, poignant and sweet - it is the best. His works are a treasure.
Gah! These poems are fucking amazing.
Book Child
Aug 13, 2010 H added it
Shelves: poetry-americas
So many lousy poets
So few good ones
What's the problem?
No innate love of
Words, no sense of
How the thing said
Is in the words, how
The words are themselves
The thing said: love,
Mistake, promise, auto
Crack-up, color, petal
The color in the petal
Is merely light
And that's refraction:
A word, that's the poem.
A blackish-red nasturtium.
This book is incredible. You'll fall in love with Schuyler and want to sit quietly with him, not asking him anything, not begging to be inspired, just to sit quietly with him looking out the window watching the world, your hungers, your thirsts, and your desires, go by.
Timothy Green
The title poem is engrossing and memorable, the rest are kind of 'meh.' But so worth it for the title poem, and it's most of the book.
Matt Morris
Read my review of this & other books at
One of the the most deserved Pulitzers ever awarded.
Mills College Library
811.54 S397m 1980
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