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Shadowing the Ground (Wesleyan Poetry Series) - Hardcover

 
9780819521958: Shadowing the Ground (Wesleyan Poetry Series)
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The character of a person, and the worth of a poet, may be judged by how he or she comes to terms with death. David Ignatow, not in his late 70s, faces the prospect of death squarely and speaks with quiet authority of his puzzlement, anger, grief, and ultimate acceptance. In 66 short poems, that together form one monumental work, Ignatow describes what it is to grow old--the isolation, loss of loved ones, idle hours, long walks --and ponders the elemental conundrum of ceasing to exist: "Why was I born if I have to die, / buzzed the fly, and buzzed and buzzed." He demonstrates his greatness as a poet when he moves beyond somberness to turn the awe of death into a heightened awareness of life and a force that clarifies how we should spend our brief time on this earth.
Divided into three sections, Ignatow's conversational meditations are at first ironic and humorous as he addresses "you fool of a cosmos." He then becomes more personal, considering what his dead parents would think of him as a white-haired old man, recalling the "silent company" of the last years with his aging wife, realizing that "it is death to be alone." Ultimately, he finds solace in the natural world--the sound of rain, smell of grass, warmth of sunshine. Without becoming sentimental or mystical, he sees that death is much the glory and handiwork of god (if there be one) as are the mountains and the flowers, which will also die. The poet turns from self-absorption, sadness and regret to see death's power as a reflection of life's wonder: "I look/ out upon the dark, knowing/ death as one form/ of transcendence, but/ so is life."

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From the Publisher:
5 1/2 x 8 1/2 trim. LC 90-20872
About the Author:
DAVID IGNATOW teaches writing at Columbia University and has published thirteen volumes of poetry and three prose collections. Ignatow received both the Shelley Memorial Award (1966) and the Frost Medal (1992). His most recent books are New and Collected Poems, 1970-1985 (1986) and The One in the Many: A Poet's Memoirs (1988).

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  • PublisherWesleyan University Press
  • Publication date1991
  • ISBN 10 0819521957
  • ISBN 13 9780819521958
  • BindingHardcover
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages80
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