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The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology
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The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: A Poetry Anthology

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  865 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade challenge the assumptions of our poetry-deprived society in this powerful collection of more than 400 deeply moving poems from renowned artists including Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Theodore Roethke, Rainer Maria Rilke, Marianne Moore, Thomas Wolfe, Czeslaw Milosz, and Henry David Thoreau.
Paperback, 560 pages
Published August 4th 1993 by Harper Perennial (first published 1992)
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Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: seekers
Shelves: reviews, poetry
This is one of my favorite all-time poetry anthologies. I picked it up at a discount bookstore in San Francisco, back when I was still a reader searching for the right books. And I swear, back when I was reading mostly fiction and memoir, and my depression was making nonsense of my writing, this book brought me back around to the redemption of poety, both as reader and writer, and I will be forever grateful.

Edited by Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade, the anthology is divided into
Mark Pennington
Nov 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Trying to get men to talk about feelings is like an old cliche about plasma and a rock.

You'll never crack it, but it's fun trying.

Poems from the ancient past right up to modern times, all about men and their total inability to understand what the hell is going on around them without causing wars, injuring women or losing their souls to dark forces beyond their control.

Robert Bly is leader of the American Men's Movement, a kind of friendly response to feminism which encourages them to get in
Feb 16, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful book of poetry made by men for men. Ladies, don't let that scare you ... It's great and inspirational reading
Dave Holt
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I like to give as a gift to friends who want to read poetry and aren't sure what to read. I'm a fan of Robert Bly's collections and the introductory notes he writes for his collections.
Jon Stout
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: men and women
Shelves: poetry
If there’s a Women’s Spirituality Group, there has to be a Men’s Group, and our mytho-poetic leader gave us the anthology assembled by Robert Bly, James Hillman, and Michael Meade. In the Foreword they say, “By calling it “Poems for Men” we don’t mean that this collection is not to be read by women; we would rejoice if women read it.”

The poets include women, such as Emily Dickenson and Sharon Olds; the new as well as the old, Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas; the east, Rumi and Li Po; the ancient,
Liz Shine
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
I bought this book at a Half Priced Books sale because I like the title and the Yeats poem it alludes to. I read each poem at least two times, then allowed myself to move on if the poem hadn't settled in or moved me. Reading this way reminded me that some poems just aren't for me and that's okay. When reading poems for my own enjoyment, I like to let some wash over me and not struggle needlessly. This way of reading makes the poems that moved me, that I penciled a heart in the margins of (so ...more
Jer El
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Words are often inadequate to convey certain experiences in life, which is why we invented poetry to try to express what in life is often a feeling, a knowing, or an encounter with soul.

This is one of the greatest anthologies I have seen, it is a wonderful resource for anyone. And, if you happen to be looking for poetry specifically for a male in your life - then my suggestion is you give this a look first.
Daniel Petra
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly amazing collection of poems that is used in the Mythopoetic movement of which I am a member. it contains some of my favorite poems. It is about mostly "crazy wisdom" and "radical creativity" and total liberation. It is in the Mithopoethic movement that I discovered the natural and organic tools and processes that have guided me in writing Missing Links.
Reading these poems may change your life. It sure changed mine!
Go for it!
Jul 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Thematic poems, collected from sources old and new.
These poems speak toward aspiration and redemption, boldness and humour, loss and acceptance. An amazing work and a testimony to the value of poetry and the primacy of the spoken word. Read it aloud if you dare!
J. Alfred
May 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I got this book because its title (The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart), like much of the rest of Yeats, is unbeatable. I didn't realize at the time that it had a subtitle; if I did realize it had this particular subtitle (Poems for Men), I wouldn't have bought it.
My negative intuition toward the subtitle proved correct. Lots of weird stuff in the introduction and introductory essays in the chapters about Men as this difficult to understand primordial being. Lots of stuff about "in our meetings
Peter Ruark
Dec 03, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
Looking forward to reading this anthology, which I picked up from a used book sale for a dollar and a half. I remain skeptical about the claims of the mythopoetic men's movement (i.e. Bly's writing in the introduction that that the problem with men in the post-industrial West is that they, like Tom Sawyer, want to be wild with Huck Finn instead of domesticated by Aunt Polly), but I see that as a product of the late 1980s, a response to a near-decade of Reagan-era yuppyism, conformity, and ...more
Michael Burchfield
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I first read this volume in 1992/93 and return to it to this day. The selection of poems, organized under various sub-categories, were pure gold for me. Everyone won't see it the same - but for where I was on my personal journey at the time I first read it, and the way my life has unfolded since, the poems feed my soul. For men who want to begin reading poetry it is a good introduction; and for young males seeking to solidify their identity, the essays and poems are very helpful.
Jacob Lopez
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Originally purchased for a poetry class (for good reason, as it's a perfect introductory book of poems with its charming thematic sections) and then brought along as companion through England. Now in the hands of a friend.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Solid anthology edited by Robert Bly, consisting of poems about the various phases of men's lives, for the most part by men. Fortunately the editors include enough women to make it at least partially inclusive.
Deborah Taylor-French
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-books
I love this collection of great male poets.

None of these poems exclude women. The breadth and depth of the writing will never become old fashioned. I recommend this book to men and women. For spiritual seekers here lies a vast world of possibility, freedom and reconciliation.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Spectacular stories and poems for men
Jessie B.
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, anthology
An interesting and eclectic selection of poems.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely excellent.
Aaron Badgley
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brilliant anthology of poetry, and it includes a couple from Bob Dylan. Cannot beat that!
Elliot Gorton
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I’ve gone back to this book countless times. The poems here have been a guide for growing up.
David Day
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This 560-page poetry collection (genre) paperback first-edition book was published in 1993 by Harper Perennial and it fits under the Book Bingo square “Lots of Pages!”. This book is a collection of more than 400 poems from a wide variety of sources ranging from ancient tribal songs to famous poets such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Three editors consisting of a psychologist, a scholar, and a translator collaborated together to compile this stunning poetry anthology. The poems were ...more
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best book of poetry I ever read, as a young man seeking a masculine identity in a world unfriendly toward hearts and bones all too easily broken, no matter what. The editors and contributors to this anthology, some of whom I've had the pleasure to meet in person, and exchange thoughts, if only briefly, have read nearly everything germane to the themes they address. The poetry is arranged and organized by minds with big hearts and decades of writing accolades particular to their capacities as ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2013
An amazing anthology of poetry from a mix of traditions and cultures. A short list of included poets: Galway Kinnell, Rumi, Yeats, Bukowski, Lorca, Neruda, Rilke, Li Po, Dickinson, etc. With Robert Bly as one of the editors (along with a psychiatrist and a scholar of myth), the collection is very focused on men and male poets, though female poets are represented as well. It probably also includes too many of Bly's own poems. The collection is organized by subject matter around the different ...more
The Healing

I am not a mechanism; an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds deep to the soul, to the deep emotional self
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time, only time can help
And patience, and a certain difficult repentance,
Long difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake, and the freeing oneself from the endless repetition of the mistake
Which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.
Christine Potter
Nov 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
I bought this for my husband a couple of years ago to introduce him to the kind of poetry I write; his education had stopped with Whitman (which isn't really such a bad thing). Ended up reading through it myself, and it's a very good selection of old and new, nicely sorted into various topics. It's not so Iron-John-drum-beating that women would feel left out as readers, and it's hugely readable in general. A good book to thumb through when one is feeling uninspired.
A Gonzales
Nov 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
My copy of this book is tattered and torn, and filled with sand from accompanying me through hikes in the desert. Bly curates a beautiful collection of poems that wander from childhood love of one's father, to first nights with unforgettable women in our lives, to mourning the death of our parents. The collection was and remains a roadmap for discovery of poets as I get older, as I have moved from young wanderer to fatherhood.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A easily accessible anthology that will introduce you to a wide variety of poets and poetry. If you are looking for an anthology that you can pick up without having to spend hours searching for a gem, than this is the place to start. Full disclosure: I've listened to Robert Bly read poetry live and I trust his judgment so much that when I approach some of the more difficult poems found in Rag & Bone I'm always confident that if I stick it out I'll be rewarded. Happy Reading.
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book has been my friend for well over ten years, and it's usually next to my bed. I've taught many of the poems in this book...but each time I pick it up I seem to find a new great one. I can understand why it claims to be "Poems for Men" but that has not gotten in the way of my enjoyment of the poems.
Malynda Alice
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
After casually drawing from this book for several years, I finally realized it is geared towards men. Shows how perceptive I am.
Compiled by Robert Bly, the anthology in theory addresses issues that face men. However, stocked with women authors and turning to such issues as war, denial, and self-discovery, it serves as a sounding board and source of comfort for just about anyone.
Ornette Waite
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
To say that this book is massive would be an understatement, with regards to both the volume and quality of content. I've been reading a lot more poetry lately but this book is a cornerstone volume. Everything is beautifully selected and divided into sections with great introductions to each section.
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What's Chris Shan...: Poetry for men or women?? 1 4 Jan 15, 2017 10:03PM  

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Robert Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement.
Robert Bly was born in western Minnesota in 1926 to parents of Norwegian stock. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and spent two years there. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard and thereby joined the famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, which