Echoes: Poems Left Behind (P)

John Ciardi, Author University of Arkansas Press $16 (75p) ISBN 978-1-55728-063-3
These posthumously discovered poems radiate the great spirit and wit of a celebrated man of letters, variously a professor, editor, translator, lexicographer as well as a poet. Ciardi drew upon a wide range of experience and emotion in these terse, often colloquial works. He wrote of human fallibility with gentleness and acquiescence, and, with eerie omniscience, of his own mortality (he died on Easter Sunday 1986): ``One easter not on the calendar I woke / and found I had survived ambition. / There was nothing I wanted more of.'' Ranging in form from free to metered verse, the poems all possess Ciardi's trademark lightness and sophistication, his joyful dexterity and tenacious energy. Whether marveling at natural wonders (``Whatever this is of nature, the peach tree / is in three parts: the trunk and limbs / are a nerve form in black jade'') or paying homage to Keats (``O beautiful, / pale, dying poet, fading as soft as rhyme, / the saddest music keeps the sweetest time''), Ciardi's respect for life and death is palpable, his voice an eloquent echo. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Hardcover - 65 pages - 978-1-55728-062-6
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