All of Us: The Collected Poems

Raymond Carver, Author Alfred A. Knopf $27.5 (416p) ISBN 978-0-375-40398-9
Carver published three major poetry collections during the five years prior to his death in 1988 at age 50. Edited by Univ. of Hartford professor William Stull, and introduced by Carver's widow, the poet Tess Gallagher, this definitive gathering includes those books as published, the posthumous A New Path to the Waterfall, and numerous appendices of previously uncollected poems, notes and sources, and a brief biography. Like the short stories for which he is better known, Carver's poems piercingly observe characters incarcerated by time and circumstance, but whose dreary lives are occasionally ignited by moments of startling clarity. Reading straight through, one is struck by how many of Carver's poems hang on memory, on near forgotten incidents that flash through the poet's mind and produce his peculiarly weighty vignettes. Although Carver concentrated on the poor, bewildered and addicted--among whom he counted himself--readers will notice a marked turn toward the hopeful as they progress. Like the painter of ""The Painter & the Fish,"" Carver, toward the end of his life, ""was ready to begin/ again, but he didn't know if one/ canvas could hold it all. Never/ mind. He'd carry it over/ onto another canvas if he had to./ It was all or nothing."" Carver put it all into his canvases, and All of Us does a fine job of presenting them for maximum impact. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-375-70380-5
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