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Roots and Branches: Poetry

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The poet has said of himself and his work: "I am not an experimentalist or an inventor, but a derivative poet, drawing my art from the resources given by a generation of masters––Stein, Williams, Pound; back of that by the generations of poets that have likewise been dreamers of the Cosmos as Creation and Man as Creative Spirit; and by the work of contemporaries: Zukofsky, ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 17th 1969 by New Directions
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At first glance, many might think Robert Duncan was a bit of an anachronism considering how he wrote in an old, traditional lyrical way but at closer look you will see that he in fact successfully blended the lyrical metres of ancient bards such as Shakespeare, Blake and Shelley and wove them into more modern experiments first seen in the works of Pound, H.D., Williams, Zukofsky, Creeley and others.

Not only that, but in my humble opinion, he does it even better than they did. His poem
Jan 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
"Apprehensions" reads like a poem I've been looking for--

How they ploughd the given field in rows, / prose and / versus . and brought landscape / into being,


I found a monument of what I am
around me as if waking were a dream,
a house built in the ancient time
when man like a salmon swam


the orders of the dead and the unborn that swarm in the floods of a man embracing his companion.


Even interested in the mythos outlined by the play that ends this book, "Adam's Way." And that's saying somethin
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Grasps you by the soul, dances with you, drops you. He studied his Sitwell and Helen Adam: the poems sing themselves to you. "There are echoes" of every syllable of every word, endless sonic reflection; wonderful assonance, slightly shifting tones, shames Stevens and betters even Pound. And all of this dwelling in an intricate, largely Neoplatonist ontology that I cannot help but find agreeable.
Jim Gardner
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Robert Duncan's masterful Roots and Branches includes the Passages series (The Torso: Passages 18, The Spelling, The Architecture). Duncan's syncretic touch spans mid-20thc-life with a healing touch. The Torso presses the reset button on human sexuality (from a gay male's perspective) while The Architecture and The Spelling do similarly for building and philology respectively.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"The angel was of the gesture, appeard as the lure of flesh,
muscular invested, a pure emblematic physique,
standing for what scripture? Who are you?
where again you go as ever
attendant and guardian of all verdant thought."
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetic-rapture

Lovely, sturdy, accessibly experimental work from a poet who is underappreciated by everyone except modern poetry experts.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Maybe I just didn't sit with these poems long enough, but I kind of felt like a lot of the poems drew on a lot of cliches of poetry and weren't very creative. Also seems to have a bit of a strong romantic element that I don't overly care for.
Fluor Beard
Jul 29, 2014 rated it liked it
My second book by Duncan (reading from "Collected Later Poems and Plays" anthology). It was a bit more difficult to get through than "Opening of the Field" because I felt it was a bit more self-indulgent, but the play "Adam's Way" is lovely.
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