Title: LAY BACK THE DARKNESS: POEMS - Rare Fine ...
Publisher: New York City, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Signed: Signed by Author
Edition: 1st Edition.
1st Printing. Signed. 80 pages. Published in 2003. The author's sixth collection of poems. One of Edward Hirsch's finest achievements. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. Presents Edward Hirsch's "Lay Back In Darkness". It includes, in all its Classical allusiveness and poised perfection, "Under A Wild Green Fig Tree: The Hades Sonnets": "I was sentenced to the punishment / filed along with other tormented spirits / where I vowed to remember the ghostly / and baleful blue undersongs of Hades / and return with them to the waking world". But the stunner is real life, especially the ones touched by the barbarisms called History and Destiny: "Two Suitcases of Children's Drawings From Terezin, 1942-1944" (works from a set of found drawings from the Terezin concentration camp) : "When the locks were unfastened / the drawings spilled over / like a waterfall / and everyone was drenched". An absolute "must-have" title for Edward Hirsch collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black pen on the title page by Edward Hirsch. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. He also crossed out his printed name. This title is a contemporary classic. This is one of very few such signed copies of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing still available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. Please note: Many copies available online are subsequent printings or have serious flaws. A rare signed copy thus. "Earthly Measures" is regarded by Harold Bloom as one of the canonical works of the 20th century. One of the greatest poets of our time. A fine copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER EDWARD HIRSCH TITLES IN OUR CATALOG) ISBN 0375415211. Bookseller Inventory # 19032
Synopsis: Edward Hirsch?s sixth collection is a descent into the darkness of middle age, narrated with exacting tenderness. He explores the boundaries of human fallibility both in candid personal poems, such as the title piece?a plea for his father, a victim of Alzheimer?s wandering the hallway at night?and in his passionate encounters with classic poetic texts, as when Dante?s Inferno enters his bedroom:
When you read Canto Five aloud last night
in your naked, singsong, fractured Italian,
my sweet compulsion, my carnal appetite,
I suspected we shall never be forgiven
for devouring each other body and soul . . .
From the lighting of a Yahrzeit candle to the drawings by the children of Terezin, Hirsch longs for transcendence in art and in the troubled history of his faith. In ?The Hades Sonnets,? the ravishing series that crowns the collection, the poet awakens full of grief in his wife?s arms, but here as throughout, there is a luminous forgiveness in his examination of our sorrows. Taken together, these poems offer a profound engagement with our need to capture what is passing (and past) in the incandescence of language.
About the Author: Edward Hirsch has published five previous books of poems: For the Sleepwalkers (1981), Wild Gratitude (1986), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, The Night Parade (1989), Earthly Measures (1994), and On Love (1998). He has also written three prose books, including How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry (1999), a national best-seller, and The Demon and the Angel: Searching for the Source of Artistic Inspiration (2002). A frequent contributor to leading magazines and periodicals, including The New Yorker, DoubleTake, and American Poetry Review, he also writes the Poet?s Choice column for the Washington Post Book World. He has received the Prix de Rome, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and a MacArthur Fellowship. A professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston for seventeen years, he is now President of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.
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