Ursula K. Le Guin So Far So Good

ISBN 13: 9781556595387

So Far So Good

 
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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