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Mules of Love (American Poets Continuum)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  29 reviews

Balancing heart-intelligent intimacy and surprising humor, the poems in Ellen Bass's Mules of Love illuminate the essential dynamics of our lives: family, community, sexual love, joy, loss, religion and death. The poems also explore the darker aspects of humanity-personal, cultural, historical and environmental violence-all of which are handled with compassion and grace. B

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Kindle Edition, 96 pages
Published December 20th 2013 by BOA Editions Ltd. (first published January 1st 2002)
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Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  208 ratings  ·  29 reviews


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Sarah
from "I Love the Way Men Crack"

I love the way men crack
open when their wives leave them,
their sheaths curling back like the split
shells of roasted chestnuts, exposing
the sweet creamy meat. They call you
and unburden their hearts the way a woman
takes off her jewels, the heavy
pendant earrings, the stiff lace gown and corset,
and slips into a loose kimono. [...]

they grow younger and younger. They cry
with the unselfconciousness of children.
When they hug you, they cling.
Like someone who's needed glasse
...more
Nate H.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
Great collection 😏
AJ Nolan
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, poetry, woman-writer
Read this because it has my one of my favorite poems, The Thing Is, and I have always meant to read it in context, and I am so glad I did. This collection is diverse and beautiful. Sexual poems, poems about long time partnerships, what if wonderings, ordinary days, grief, worry - all the makings of life.

And this beautiful long poem, that I won't quote all of here, called "Bearing Witness," which is all about child abuse and neglect, and how much we'd all rather ignore it, and go to the movies f
...more
C.E. G
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
3.5 stars. I like her straight-forward style, her poems about aging and sex, and some of her parenting poems. This one I might share at the library for Poem of the Month:

Basket of Figs

Bring me your pain, love. Spread
it out like fine rugs, silk sashes,
warm eggs, cinnamon
and cloves in burlap sacks. Show me

the detail, the intricate embroidery
on the collar, tiny shell buttons,
the hem stitched the way you were taught,
pricking just a thread, almost invisible.

Unclasp it like jewels, the gold
still h
...more
Madeline Miles
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite works of poetry; I’ve dog-eared so many pages. Ellen is an incredibly talented writer and poet. I had the pleasure of attending a writing workshop taught by Ellen and it was wonderful to hear her perspective on writing first-hand—I re-read Mules of Love after the workshop, and I loved discovering new things that I hadn’t noticed before. This book is a beautiful work of art! Highly recommend.
Lisa Glanville
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this collection.
I galloped through it, but I'm going to go back and savour these poems at a slower pace.
She's a brilliant writer - no bullshit about her.
Edgar Trevizo
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely gorgeous. I simply adore Ellen. She always sees the connections, those tiny details that make anything shine like a sun.
savannah
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
some of these were just weird. i didn’t expect to be reading poems about assholes as tulip blossoms, or missing “the nudge” of penises, or other things i don’t really want to write out. these were all well-written, well-structured--the similes in particular were fantastic. but did i like most of these poems? did i like what they were about? not really.

all that said “the thing is” is printed out and displayed in my phone case. so i obviously think ellen bass is a great poet, and she does have a
...more
Christen
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
Not all poetry is complicated or hard to understand. Ellen Bass’s poems cut straight to the heart and are not only understable but they may help you understand yourself a little bit better. How does a stranger with a million different experiences from yourself put into words what you couldn’t? #words
Phillip
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, poetry
Beautiful Engaging Direct Poems. Frequently spiked with starting image and rough sexuality. Mixture of Joy and melancholy. simple straight forward imagery.

First of three volumes so far in 2nd Poetic Life.
James
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, poetry
I love Bass's voice in this collection - rich with love and eroticism - even when she explores darker terrain. Her poems are intimate, caring, meaningful, compassionate, wise and even humorous when appropriate. Highly recommended.
Jan
Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unflinchingly honest, plain-spoken yet lyrical, poems rooted in the body and everyday life. Bass is one of my favorite writers and I'll be looking for more of her books. Recommended for poetry readers and humans in general.
Caroline Mcphail-Lambert
Poems of love, life, relationships, the good, the bad, and the in between.
Natalie Serber
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love!
Matilda
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love Ellen Bass’s poetry and how relentlessly tender it is whilst remaining unapologetically genuine. This is the first full poetry collection i have read of hers and i adored it.
Sebastian
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First read: June 27, 2017, Tuesday
Steven
Mar 05, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlike other collections I’ve read, this volume of work by Ellen Bass felt more contemporary to my own work, as if I could have seen these poems in a recent workshop. Because of this, there were techniques I admired and will learn from, but also certain devices that I felt were overused and language that I would have suggested cutting or distilling.
The aspects of Ms. Bass’s work that I will return to include the casual language of her “I” voice, her use of linked similes and metaphors and the i
...more
Lytton Bell
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This was one of those books that really changed my life
Literary Mama
Literary Reflections Editor Andrea Lani offers another way to make time for neglected literature: "I've always wanted to read more poetry, but somehow, I've never gotten around to it. And when I do sit down to read a book of poems cover to cover, it's like eating a whole box of chocolates in one sitting: too much concentrated richness all at once. So, among the new habits I adopted early this year was reading one poem each morning before getting up. It's the perfect way to absorb poetry, savorin ...more
Alarie
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
In this collection of gritty poems, often about uncomfortable topics, Bass writes so powerfully that “we’ll take everything on the menu” (as she says in poem one). Her poems are fairly brief and accessible, but not simple. You’ll wonder how you traveled across the universe without turning the page. In “After Our Daughter’s Wedding,” she captures the wonder and fear of parenthood: “The vulnerable hollow/at the back of the neck. Never knowing/what could pick them off – a seagull/swooping down for ...more
Nina
Sep 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading the poems in this collection feels like sitting in the kitchen having a conversation with your closest friend, the one with whom you share your darkest secrets. Bass explores relationships of all kinds in language that paints a rich picture. No dainty water-color strokes here, these poems are full and weighty, yet immediately understandable.

I enjoyed the poems in this book so much that I just ordered another book by Ellen Bass.
Cindy Huyser
Sep 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book of poetry -- well-crafted and rich. I particularly enjoyed the breadth of love this book explores. Some that really stood out for me: "Poem to My Sex at Fifty-One," "For My Daughter on Her Twenty-First Birthday," "Phone Therapy," "I Love the Way Men Crack." In fact, many of my favorite poems in this volume are to / about her children.
Julian
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a blessing that arrived into my hands at the most perfect time.
Kathy Disanto
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
An amazing talent! Absolutely love her use of language. These poems are robust and filled with life. Read them! You won't be sorry. (Only envious.)
Hadas Moalem
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She comforts me so.
Bill Mayer
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to read a book of poems that will cause a catch in your breath, to make you nod your head in affirmation; THIS is one of those books.
Julene
Dec 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a multitude of poems that reach into your heart in a straight forward manner.
Patricia
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, re-reading
I'm taking a workshop with Ellen Bass later this summer and so I'm reading her work. WOW! This is intimate stuff! She's certainly a fabulous model for a wanna-be poet.
Erica
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, adult
The writing was wonderful, but had a bit too much graphic sex in there for me. I felt like a prude, but still didn't enjoy reading it.
Stephen Lamb
rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2019
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Ellen Bass is an American poet and author.

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