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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,373 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
Former Poet Laureate Robert Hass 1979's Praise, the writer's second volume of poetry.
Paperback, 80 pages
Published July 10th 1999 by Ecco (first published 1979)
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Bill  Kerwin
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing

By the way, speaking of praise: in spite of the fact that Robert Hass merits much of it, for the clarity, the immediacy, the trenchant images, and the thoughfulness of his verse, I still find myself unwilling to grant him my love—as I love Donne, Keats, Mew, O'Hara, and James Wright—because I sense, behind that accomplished verse, a self slipping away, determinedly withholding itself from the reader. One of the reasons I like the book Praise so much—in addition to its astonishing facility—is tha
May 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: poets and sailors alike.
This is one of my favorite books of poetry written in the last thirty years. I'm mentioning it on here because it's been such a useful tool for me as a writer. It includes some really famous poems, such as "Meditation at Lagunitas." That, you can find online here:

It's a sort of elegy to language, with a few jabs at deconstructionism, all mixed with a heavy dose of lyrical beauty....

But there are other poems in the book that I continually return to when I a
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, touching.

I love this book for its sparing language. I mean, here are some truly difficult, dark, if hopeful, poems, carried by the most delicate, pared down lines. Also, the collection is full of exploratory form / break from standard.

Several of the poems seem to have an almost Japanese aesthetic, or a sort of leaping Bly would appreciate, as in "The Yellow Bicycle":

"The woman I love is greedy,
but she refuses greed.
She walks so straightly,
when I ask her what she wants,
she says, 'A yellow bicycle.'"

Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've also been reading from Hass's book of essays recently, Twentieth Century Pleasures, and it is interesting for me to think of how these poems of "praise" coincide with his idea of the poet as creator. There is in these poems a sensitivity to the role of language not just as a medium, but a possibly successful medium.
Oct 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I first read Praise, the second book of poems published by Hass, a decade or so ago. What always stayed with me from the first reading was the half-dozen italicized lines that began section one, “We asked the captain what course / of action he proposed to take toward / a beast so large, terrifying, and / unpredictable. He hesitated to / answer, and then said judiciously: / ‘I think I shall praise it.’” When I recently picked it up to get the wording precisely right for “I think I shall praise it ...more
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To borrow from Faulkner: Praise grates on universal bones, leaving scars. Hass writes of food, of sex, of language, words, and naming, or blackberries, living in the Bay Area, of growing up and growing old, of trees and of Russian literature, of the ancients and of the arts, all as if it were all immediately relevant to the everyday goings-on of the day. Indeed he makes it so. His syntax crosses trough various degrees of communicativity, and his form remains consistently inconsistent; purposeful ...more
Sep 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, I was a naive college freshman who felt that contemporary poetry just wasn't for me: I felt that I didn't "get" modern poetry and that I just couldn't relate to it. Then, one day, I read Robert Hass's poem "Meditation at Lagunitas," and I was like, "Oh!"

After that, there was no turning back.

My favorite poems in this sublime collection, besides "Meditation at Lagunitas," are "Heroic Simile" and "Against Botticelli." All three are poems in which Hass masterfully combines intellec
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
I'm a bit of a poetry neophyte, but there were some poems that stuck with me. "Old Dominion" was a particular favorite, an outsider wearing borrowed clothes ruminating about the influences on their life.

Unfortunately, this time I was forced to read this work in several different sittings, but I think it might be better to read the entire collection in as few sessions as possible to take the book as a whole.
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I read this book many years ago and it taught me the importance of questioning in poetry. As a young and naive undergrad, I thought that poems were supposed to answer all of the world's problems. This book showed me the beauty of oblivion. "Sunrise" is still one of my favorite poems. . ."Ah, love. This is fear. This is fear and syllables and the beginning of beauty." This book was assigned by poet/teacher Don Morrill, who's work is also beautiful in their oblivion.
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Robert Hass was born in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley, California, where he teaches at the University of California. He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. A MacArthur Fellow and a two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, he has published poems, literary essays, and translations. He is married to the poet Brenda Hillman.
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“Longing, we say, because desire is full of endless distances.” 37 likes
“August is dust here. Drought
stuns the road,
but juice gathers in the berries.”
More quotes…