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Hass, Robert

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ISBN 10: 0880015578 / ISBN 13: 9780880015578
Published by (Hopewell) Ecco Press (1996)., 1996
Soft cover
From Charles Seluzicki Fine & Rare Books ABAA (Portland, OR, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Uncorrected proof. Near fine, with publicity letter, signed by Daniel Halpern. 1st edition. Binding is wrappers. Bookseller Inventory # 007786

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Bibliographic Details

Title: SUN UNDER WOOD. New Poems

Publisher: (Hopewell) Ecco Press (1996).

Publication Date: 1996

Binding: Soft cover

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: F.

About this title


Robert Hass demonstrates once again the unmistakable intelligence and original voice that have won him both literary acclaim and the affection of a broad general readership. Here Hass extends and deepens his ongoing explorations of nature and human history, solitude, and the bonds of children, parents, and lovers. Here his passion for apprehending experience with language--for creating experience with language--finds supple form in poems that embrace all that is alive and full of joy. Sun Under Wood is the most impressive collection yet from one of our most accomplished poets.


Robert Hass's Sun Under Wood, his fourth poetry collection in 25 years and the winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, appeared in the middle of his high-profile stint as poet laureate of the United States. Putting into practice the ars poetica of his Twentieth Century Pleasures essays, these poems gain altitude through association with each other, especially the clever division of labor between "Layover" and "Notes on 'Layover.'" The concerns of the book expand and contract, offering up such memorable passages as the third stanza of "Our Lady of the Snows":

Though mostly when I think of myself
at that age, I am standing at my older brother's closet
studying the shirts,
convinced that I could be absolutely transformed
by something I could borrow.
And the days churned by,
navigable sorrow.
Aside from sounding an unexpected rhyme, this "navigable sorrow" betrays Hass as a poet of sensibility. What elevates him from preciousness is a powerful need to engage and indulge--to "navigate"--memories of his alcoholic mother and his own painful divorce. Sun Under Wood, in other words, is the book Robert Lowell would have written had he grown up in California. The raccoon Hass confronts in "Iowa City: Early April" seems to have stepped right out of Lowell's "Skunk Hour," but instead of moaning, "I myself am hell ... nobody's here," Hass muses, "That his experience of his being and mine of his and his of mine were things entirely apart, / ...And as for my experience of myself, it comes and goes, I'm not sure it's any one thing...." Such universal emotions are hard to find words for, but throughout Sun Under WoodHass speaks with a clear, disturbing, and urgent voice. --Edward Skoog

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Charles Seluzicki, Fine & Rare Books, ABAA was established in the late 70's in Baltimore, Maryland. At that time, first specializing exclusively in poetry, we started our Fine Press Series and have published fine press books and broadsides by notable poets and writers: Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Charles Simic, Tess Gallagher, Czeslaw Milosz, Mark Strand and a host of others. Projects by Charles Simic and Robert Lowell are in the works. Visitors are welcome by appointment.

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