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Selected Poems Paperback – 1 May 2003

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Product details

  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (1 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195165470
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195165470
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 1.5 x 13.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,461,764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"If you read and enjoy Conrad Aiken, then you have been in search of authentic poetry, and you have found it."—from the Foreword by Harold Bloom

"This new, shapely edition of the poetry of Conrad Aiken is an invitation for us to listen to him again and perhaps this time to hear beneath the romantic nuances of his music a distinct and emphatically modern voice."—Billy Collins, Poet Laureate

About the Author

is an American poet, short story writer, critic and novelist.

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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
a neglected master... 15 Feb 2005
By Douglas M. May - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Most readers know Conrad Aiken, if they know him it all, for "Silent Snow, Secret Snow," a chilling portrayal of childhood insanity. But he was also an accomplished novelist (see "Blue Voyage" with its gorgeous stream-of-consciousness and "A Heart for the Gods of Mexico," a slightly disguised portrait of Malcolm Lowry)and a major poet whose life's work dwarfs that of Eliot in terms of sheer size and rivals Pound's in its learnedness, albeit a learnedness that is not displayed so feverishly as is Pound's in The Cantos.

It's not surprising to me that this volume has basically come and gone without anyone noticing it (I bought mine out of a remainder catalogue), but it's still disheartening. Because this is major poetry by a major poet who would be a great discovery for younger readers if they were encouraged to read him.

Aiken often has a tone reminiscent of the early Eliot and many of the poems in this volume (especially "Senlin...")are reminiscent of Profrock with an added vein of mysticism that is his link to Emerson, Thoreau, Melville and other purveyors of the American Sublime. All of the poems are finely crafted--some in free verse, some loosely rhymed, some in tight forms--and display a beautiful feeling for rhythm, both explicit and implicit, and the long musical line. His images are striking, his range of ideas fascinating. He is never less than arresting and often inspired. My own favorites are "Landscape West of Eden," "Blues for Ruby Matrix," the aforementioned "Senlin: A Biography" and "Tetelestai," a gorgeous elegy that is the equal of the "out of the cradle, endlessly rocking...." section in Leaves of Grass.

Harold Bloom,in his very good introductory essay, tells why Aiken matters. But I must disagree with him on the subject of Aiken's eloquence, which he considers to be the fatal flaw separating Aiken from greater poets like Stevens and Crane. To me this eloquence is precisely Aiken's strength. If more modern poets had been less interested in modelling consciousness than in analyzing it and extracting its elusive essences--yes, even sometimes extracting the ore of eloquence from the dross of momentary chaos--poetry might still have an audience.

Aiken wrote at a time when there was still a bond between poet and audience and cultural inclusivity was attempted on a scale unimagineable today. These poems are not only excellent in themselves, they are potent reminders of how powerful and daring poetry once was and how germane to audiences outside the realms of academia.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A Reading of Senlin's "Morning Song" 7 Jun 2008
By Daniel Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My first and probably only video review. I think it important for poetry lovers to hear the sound of Aiken's musical poetry. I hope my English accent does the American poet justice.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Selected Poems 15 July 2009
By James W. Carota - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I love this book.I bought it because my 2nd cousin read a poem at my Aunts memorial service.It's called "Discordants" and now I'm enjoying the rest of the poems
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