Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected

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9780393038705: Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected
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Marking the year of his ninetieth birthday, one of the masters of contemporary poetry presents his ninth collection. Stanley Kunitz, recipient of both the Pulitzer and the Bollingen Prizes, here gathers a rich selection of his work, including new poems that remind us of his prefatory statement: "Art is that chalice into which we pour the wine of transcendence." Nearly all the poems of his later years, beginning with The Testing Tree (1971), are included, and most of the poems in Passing Through are unavailable in any other edition.

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Review:

Marking his 90th birthday, this Stanley Kunitz greatest hits package is a treasure. "The Wellfleet Whale" is one of the best nature poems of the 20th century, but Kunitz shines brightest when writing about the family. Notice especially, "The Portrait," which both describes a portrait found in an attic and is itself a portrait of Kunitz's childhood. The poem details a child finding a portrait of his dead father, a portrait that opens old wounds ("My mother never forgave my father / for killing himself") even as new wounds are being formed. This is moving, potent, passionate writing.

About the Author:

Stanley Kunitz, much-honored poet, was cofounder of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and of Poets House in New York City. He died in 2006.

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Stanley Kunitz
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