Collected Longer Poems

Hayden Carruth, Author Copper Canyon Press $25 (240p) ISBN 978-1-55659-058-0
This is the companion volume to Carruth's Collected Shorter Poems, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1992. ``Here am I--drowned, living, loving, and insane'' the first poem ends. Yet even taking on a nervous breakdown as a subject does not throw this poet into a confessional mode. The work here seems to break every rule of modern poetry, yet it succeeds. Carruth speaks in generalities about concepts such as Ecstasy and Death. Emotional landscapes are set against the harsh New England winters, creating a force of nature as violent and complicated as Robinson Jeffers's California. The veiled, elegiac stance in early sequences sets the stage for the most powerful and lyrical work in Carruth's oeuvre, the book-length ``Sleeping Beauty.'' Here the woman, reclining in a Vermont landscape, becomes a collage of all women: friends, strangers, literary figures: ``North / Means the way, loneliness, a snow-blurred field, / Existence, seeking what a life is worth.'' The poet relates her dreams, haunted by male figures whose names begin with H --Hamlet, Hitler, HIV. This volume displays the huge range, both in theme and form, of a poet who pushes his art to its limits, then beyond. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 11/01/1993
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-55659-059-7
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