Toward the Distant Islands: New and Selected Poems

Hayden Carruth, Author, Sam Hamill, Editor . Copper Canyon $17 (181p) ISBN 978-1-55659-236-2

Carruth's long and protean career includes his editing of The Voice That Is Great Within Us (1970), a still-standard anthology of American modernism; a high-profile stint as editor of Poetry magazine; and periods of rural seclusion. His 24 books encompass Frostian tales of farm life with New England eccentrics, compilations of haiku, long and unguarded poems of erotic devotion, autobiographical laments, and sensitive odes to jazz greats who understood that "Freedom and discipline occur/ only in ecstasy, all else// is shoveling out the muck." All sides of Carruth's oeuvre find a place in this welcome volume, dexterously compiled and introduced by Copper Canyon founder Sam Hamill. Where Carruth's individual books—even the strongest, such as the National Book Award–winning Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey (1996)—could become garrulous or repetitive, the selection here gives just enough of everything Carruth has learned, and he has learned a lot, especially about the ways and landscapes of New England. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/13/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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