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Robert Bly has had many roles in his illustrious career. He is a chronicler and mentor of young poets, many of whom he presented in his series of edited books -- The Fifties, The Sixties, and The Seventies. He was a leader of the antiwar movement, founded the men's movement virtually by himself, and published the bestseller Iron John. All through these activities, he has continued to deepen his own poetry, a vigorous voice in a period of more academic wordsmiths. Now, in Eating the Honey of Words, he presents the best poems he has written in the last three decades, including favorites from his earlier books such as Silence in the Snowy Fields, The Man in the Black Coat Turns, and Loving a Woman in Too Worlds. Joining these timeless classics are a number of poems from these past decades never published before, as well as a complete section of marvelous new poems from the last two years.
This book is a chance to reread, in a fresh setting, many of Bly's most famous early poems, and in some instances to see how they have changed over the years. In this new selection, one can see more clearly than ever the powerful undercurrents that carry this poetry from one book to the next.
Eating the Honey of Words is a brilliant collection that confirms Robert Bly's role as one of America's preeminent poets writing today.
The Face in the Toyota
Suppose you see a face in a Toyota
One day, and you fall in love with that face,
And it is Her, and the world rushes by
Like dust blown down a Montana street.
And you fall upward into some deep hole,
And you can't tell God from a grain of sand.
And your life is changed, except that now you
Overlook even more than you did before;
And these ignored things come to bury you,
And you are crushed, and your parents
Can't help anymore, and the woman in the Toyota
Becomes a part of the world that you don't see.
And now the grain of sand becomes sand again,
And you stand on some mountain road weeping.
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Robert Bly's books of poetry include The Night Abraham Called to the Stars and My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy. His awards include the National Book Award for poetry and two Guggenheims. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.From Publishers Weekly:
Heeded in the '60s as the head apostle of the "Deep Image" school of poets; known for "read-ins" against the Vietnam War; and heralded again recently as the author of the men's movement guide Iron John, Bly has been famous several times over. But this broad set of poems from his whole career reveals how detrimentally little his style has changed. Fond of would-be archetypal terms like "the darkness," "fields," "stones," and "the body," Bly seeks simplicity, knowledge of the collective unconscious, solidarity with nature and confidence in his desires: these projects entail, usually, a drastic distrust of subtlety and a near-total repudiation of intellect. Some of Bly's lines make parody pointless: "My body was sour, my life dishonest, and I fell asleep"; "As for me, I want to be a stone! Yes!"; "The bear between my legs/ has one eye only,/ which he offers/ to God to see with"; "In late September many voices/ Tell you you will die"; "More of the fathers are dying each day./ It is time for the sons"Athis last from "Winter Privacy Poems at the Shack." Some of Bly's mannerisms blossomed into brilliance in the work of his late contemporary James Wright; Bly himself has written a few standout poems, most recently the bizarre "An Afternoon in June." But Bly's real and impressive aural skills, his sense of what is easily effective, and his self-assurance, allow him to go on writing what are at bottom the same lines over and over, whether their catalyst is Vietnam, or sex, or the California coast. One might say of Bly's work, as he says of "The Storm," "It lacked subtlety and obeyed/ Something or someone irresistible"; most of his poems now seem easy to resist.
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