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Le Guin, Ursula K. So Far So Good

ISBN 13: 9781556595387

So Far So Good

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9781556595387: So Far So Good
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"Ursula K. Le Guin, loved by millions for her fantasy and science-fiction novels, ponders life, death and the vast beyond in So Far So Good, an astute, charming collection finished weeks before her death in January, 2018. Fans will recognize some of the motifs here―cats, wind, strong women ― as well as her exploration of the intersection between soul and body, the knowable and the unknown. The writing is clear, artful and reverent as Le Guin looks back at key memories and concerns and looks forward to what is next: 'Spirit, rehearse the journey of the body/ that are to come, the motions/ of the matter that held you.'"―Washington Post

"Le Guin’s farewell poetry collection, contains all that created her reputation for fiction―sharp insight, restless imagination, humor that is both mordant and humane, and, above all else, that connection to all creation, that 'immense what is'."―New York Journal of Books

“It’s hard to think of another living author who has written so well for so long in so many styles as Ursula K. Le Guin.” ―Salon

“She never loses touch with her reverence for the immense what is.” ―Margaret Atwood

“There is no writer with an imagination as forceful and delicate as Le Guin’s.” ―Grace Paley

Legendary author Ursula K. Le Guin was lauded by millions for her ground- breaking science fiction novels, but she began as a poet, and wrote across genres for her entire career. In this clarifying and sublime collection―completed shortly before her death in 2018―Le Guin is unflinching in the face of mor- tality, and full of wonder for the mysteries beyond. Redolent of the lush natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with rich sounds playfully echoing myth and nursery rhyme, Le Guin bookends a long, daring, and prolific career.

From “How it Seems to Me”:

In the vast abyss before time, self is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time, soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self . . .

Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of over sixty novels, short fiction works, translations, and volumes of poetry, including the acclaimed novels The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. Her books continue to sell millions of copies worldwide. Le Guin died in 2018 in her home in Portland, Oregon.

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About the Author:

Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of over 60 novels, short fiction works, translations, and volumes of poetry. She is known mostly for her works of science fiction and fantasy, including the acclaimed novels The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Dispossessed. Le Guin is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, and her books continue to sell millions of copies worldwide. An author of singular imagination and resolve, Le Guin died in 2018 in her home in Portland, Oregon.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Words for the Dead
Mouse my cat killed
grey scrap in a dustpan
carried to the trash
To your soul I say:
With none to hide from
run now, dance
within the walls
of the great house
And to your body:
Inside the body
of the great earth
in unbounded being
be still
McCoy Creek: Cattle
Long after sunset the afterlight
glows warm along the rimrock.
A wind down off the mountain
blows soft, a little chill.
I’ve come to love the quiet sound
cattle make cropping short grass.
Day and night are much the same
to them in the pastures of summer,
cows and calves, they crop and pull
with that steady, comfortable sound
as the light in the rimrock and the sky
dims away slowly. Now no wind.
I don’t know if cattle see the stars,
but all night long they graze
and walk and stand in the calm
light that has no shadows.
McCoy Creek: Wind
The wind beats on the drums
of my ears and overturns the chairs,
blowing out of all the years
we’ve come here, been here.
The bird that says tzeep says tzeep.
Dry pods on the old honeylocust rattle.
Barbed wire draws straggling lines between
us and distant cattle.
Rocking like little white sailboats
two hens cross the footbridge.
Behind me and before me
the basalt ridges are silent
as the air is silent when
the wind for a moment ceases.
SIX QUATRAINS
Autumn
gold of amber
red of ember
brown of umber
all September
McCoy Creek
Over the bright shallows
now no flights of swallows.
Leaves of the sheltering willow
dangle thin and yellow.
October
At four in the morning the west wind
moved in the leaves of the beech tree
with a long rush and patter of water,
first wave of the dark tide coming in.
Solstice
On the longest night of all the year
in the forests up the hill,
the little owl spoke soft and clear
to bid the night be longer still.
The Winds of May
are soft and restless
in their leafy garments
that rustle and sway
making every moment movement
Hail
The dogwood cowered under the thunder
and the lilacs burned like light itself
against the storm-black sky until the hail
whitened the grass with petals.
Come to Dust
Spirit, rehearse the journeys of the body
that are to come, the motions
of the matter that held you.
Rise up in the smoke of palo santo.
Fall to the earth in the falling rain.
Sink in, sink down to the farthest roots.
Mount slowly in the rising sap
to the branches, the crown, the leaf-tips.
Come down to earth as leaves in autumn
to lie in the patient rot of winter.
Rise again in spring’s green fountains.
Drift in sunlight with the sacred pollen
to fall in blessing.
All earth’s dust
has been life, held soul, is holy.
Lullaby
where’s my little fleeting cat
a year a year an hour a day
where’s my little girl at
fleeting away sleeping away
found the way clear away
nowhere far nowhere near
a day a day an hour a year
To the Rain
Mother rain, manifold, measureless,
falling on fallow, on field and forest,
on house-roof, low hovel, high tower,
downwelling waters all-washing, wider
than cities, softer than sisterhood, vaster
than countrysides, calming, recalling:
return to us, teaching our troubled
souls in your ceaseless descent
to fall, to be fellow, to feel to the root,
to sink in, to heal, to sweeten the sea.
The Fine Arts
Judging beauty, which is keenest,
Eye or heart or mind or penis?
Lust is blindest, feeling kindest,
Sight is strongest, thought goes wrongest.
An Autumn Reading
for Andrea
The poet read in the Scholar’s Room
in the Chinese garden, her words
half heard in rush and crash of rain
on formal ponds and pavements,
like verses cut in an old stone
blurred by moss and lichen.
Under the downpour purple
chrysanthemums nodded in silence.
A Cento of Scientists
(Alternating quotations from Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei, and Giordano Bruno)
There is grandeur
The sun with all the circling planets it sustains
God is glorified and the greatness of his kingdom made manifest
in this view of life
the sun with all the circling planets yet
glorified not in one but in countless suns
from so simple a beginning endless forms
the sun with all the planets it sustains yet can ripen a bunch of grapes
not in a single earth, a single world, but in a thousand thousand
endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful
the sun can ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do
not in a single world but in a thousand thousand, an infinity of worlds
endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved
as if it had nothing else in the universe to do
All things are in the universe, and the universe is in all things,
we in it and it in us
There is grandeur in this view of life
How it Seems to Me
In the vast abyss before time, self
is not, and soul commingles
with mist, and rock, and light. In time,
soul brings the misty self to be.
Then slow time hardens self to stone
while ever lightening the soul,
till soul can loose its hold of self
and both are free and can return
to vastness and dissolve in light,
the long light after time.

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