Time and Materials
The poems in Robert Hass's new collection—his first to appear in a decade—are grounded in the beauty and energy of the physical world, and in the bafflement of the present moment in American culture. This work is breathtakingly immediate, stylistically varied, redemptive, and wise.
His familiar landscapes are here—San Francisco, the Northern California coast, the Sierra hi...more
The gene pool threw up a wobbly stem
And the tree danced. No.
The tree capitalized.
No. There are limits to saying,
In language, what the tree did.
It is good sometimes for poetry to disenchant us.
- The Problem of Describing Trees (pg. 10)
The so-called "limits in language" are, in fact, limits in the poet's imagination. First and foremost, how many poets have described trees before, how many times have trees been described in different and nuanced ways? All beautiful, I might add. Althou ...more
"Gracias." "De nada."
Hass titles his book Time and Materials, but can't seem to muster up any strong feeling about the inadequacy, mystery, beauty, or sinisterness of either. Women laugh at him, and can live without him, and that's all okay to ...more
His mood varies: he can be playful as in 'I Am Your Waiter Tonight and My Name Is Dmitri', whilst at the same time intimate. Fu ...more
After his powerful “problem” poems (“The Problem of Describing Color” and “The Problem of Describing Trees”), the next poem, “Winged and Acid Dark,” inspired by the film A Woman in Berlin, interrupts the terrible story about a female prostitute in WWII for us to know as he does, of Basho’s admonition on poet ...more
The nature part is easy. Bob has a gift for observation and detail (not unlike Elizabeth Bishop's, in my view). But getting people right in poems is a lot harder.
There's usually a dialogue and plenty of interior thinking, analyzing, self-analyzing. ...more
Meh. These were not great. Hass employs a lot of nature imagery into his poems, but none of it really grabbed me the way the good poetry I've been reading has. (Or even the bad poetry, which usually has something that makes me stop and think.) I didn't actively dislike them, but the poems didn't hold my attention, and upon finishing I couldn't always remember what the poem had been about. The people in them felt inauthentic, and the writing never fully convinced me any ...more
In the long winter nights, a farmer's dreams are narrow.
Over and over, he enters the furrow.
If you don't read poetry either, read this. My favorites so far? "Iowa, January," "Poem with a Cucumber In It," "I am Your Waiter Tonight And My Name Is Dmitri,""Art and Life," and "Time and Materials."
There are poems that are to ...more
Absolutely, I'd recommend Hass' work to any poetry reader, and to any poet.
Read this review as somewhere between a 4.5 and 4.9. I really want to give it a 5 star rating, but there are a few small things that keep me from lavishing that upon it. Overall, I love the voice. I agree with its politics and and am drawn in by its rhythms...
My one major complaint (such as it is) is that many of the poems are quite prosaic - in other words, ...more
This book is well deserving of the many awards it's garnered recently, and although it took Hass 8 years to write the poems gathered here, it seems worth the time it took.
Some of his previous concerns with the failure of language (as in "Meditation at Laguinitas") remain--in "The Problem of Describing Trees," for example, "the tree danced. No./ The tree capitalized./ No. There are limits to saying,/ In language, what the tree did." He also goes back to his projects in imitation/transla ...more
All that being said, I did get a little bogged down about three-quarters through with quite a few prose poems about politics in a row. There was a lot of detail there but I feel like it got lost in the repetitive form and the we ...more
Robert Hass is a former Poet Laureate of the United States, which should tell you all you need to know about the quality of his work. And Time and Materials, the first book he published after his laureateship, does not disappoint in that regard.
“In one version of the legend, the sirens couldn't sing.
It was only a sailor's story that they could.
So Odysseus, lashed to the mast, was harrowed
by a music that he didn't hear—plungings of sea, ...more
|21st Century Lite...: Time and Materials - Featured Book - Robert Hass (May 2012)||13||35||Aug 20, 2012 02:58PM|