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Ten Poems to Say Goodbye [Hardcover]

Roger Housden

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Book Description

21 Feb 2012
In Ten Poems to Say Goodbye, the newest addition to the celebrated Ten Poems series, Roger Housden continues to highlight the magic of poetry, this time as it relates to personal loss. But while the selected poems in this volume may focus upon loss and grief, they also reflect solace, respite, and joy.
 
A goodbye is an opportunity for kindness, for forgiveness, for intimacy, and ultimately for love and a deepening acceptance of life as it is rather than what it was. Goodbyes can be poignant, sorrowful, sometimes a relief, and—now and then—even an occasion for joy.
 
They are always transitions that, when embraced, can be the door to a new life both for ourselves and for others. In this inspiring and consoling volume, Housden encourages readers to embrace poetry as a way of enabling us to better see and appreciate the beauty of the world around and within us.

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Ten Poems to Say Goodbye + Ten Poems to Set You Free + Ten Poems to Change Your Life
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delicious tastes 24 Feb 2012
By SherryGreywolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I took Roger Housden's book to my women's group last night and we used it to deepen our discussion of partings and losses and what remains after those endings. Almost all of us used the word "delicious" at one point or another-- with gratitude for what the poems brought us and what they let us share with each other. This book is in itself a precious gift and I intend to give it to many of my friends.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grace for the Dark Night 23 Feb 2012
By Ariadne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Roger Housden is one of the most insightful, compelling writers I know- his meditations on pilgrimage, poetry and art woven in with his own personal stories reveal what is most deeply human within us. I've given away dozens of his books to friends and students over the past few years, and know that his words have the power to change lives. With this book, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that book might not just change lives- it could well save them. I urge you to buy several copies to keep on a shelf. One for yourself to have always and two or three to have on hand when someone in your life is plunging into the dark night of the soul. This is a book you want to have to hand a friend in the throes of divorce, in the agony of bereavement, in the despair of losing a job or a home. Every priest, rabbi or minister should keep a copy (or ten) in their office. For the places where we so seldom can find words, Roger brings the light of wisdom and hope. This is a work of profound grace.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply authentic on grief, loss, solace, joy, relationships, acceptance 21 Feb 2012
By Paul H. Ray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Perhaps one of the more difficult things for a spiritual or psychological counselor to work with in a deeply authentic way is personal loss and grief of spiritual students and clients. How do you go beyond the ritual occasion? What is the stance that embraces life and death, comings and goings, joinings and partings, joys and griefs? A sensitive examination of the best poetry has much to offer. Roger Housden has selected ten utterly splendid poems, and added a deeply felt and astute commentary unique to each that beautifully honors the intent of the poet.

At one level, you could say that while Ten Poems to Say Goodbye is about loss and grief, at the same time it is also about solace, respite and joy. And it is true that it is about those emotions. Yet it is also about taking relationships to a more profound level, for saying goodbye offers an opportunity for kindness, forgiveness and empathy, for recognition of love and a deepening acceptance of life as it is, letting go of what it was.

At a deeper level yet, Rudolf Otto in his book, Mysticism East and West, describes consciousness of Everything in space and time, the infinite circumference: The Way of Unity. This involves working to include ever more of the world in our field of consciousness. We strive toward a sympathetic union with Everything. This approach is captured by the phrase, "And `I am' that too." Life and death, coming together and parting, ending an old phase of life and starting another, are all also part of Everything. That is another of the key threads of Roger Housden's excellent and very touching book.

I found that I could not just read this book through. I had to stop and dry the tears in my eyes, and let the feelings move within me. It merits sipping slowly, and returning to dip into it again.

Paul H. Ray
Co-author of The Cultural Creatives
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Liberating 15 April 2012
By Michael P. Maslanka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Sadly, Housden writes that this is the last book in the series, although I seem to recall he said that about his last book. He nails it in his introduction:"So much of my life has been lived not at the time of the living itself, but only afterward or in anticipation, which is to say partially," And the poems he selects for this volume, along with his commentary on each,argue for us to live in the moment whether from Rilke, "be a ringing glass that shatters as it rings" or Jack Gilbert from his "The Lost Hotels of Paris:, "But it's the having/not the keeping that is the treasure." A book to read and read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely 23 Feb 2012
By Christine Klocek-Lim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've been writing poetry for decades. Critiquing, reviewing, and editing it for nearly as long. Strangely, I had forgotten what it is to be simply a reader. Housden's book opens with one of the most straightforward explanations of why poetry matters and always will. Poetry captures humanity and "delivers it up in exactly the right words." The introduction explains why he put this book together, a sort of mini-poetry-anthology. The book gives us ten poems to ponder. Each is accompanied by an essay where he considers the poem, explains why it is important to him, and why it has meaning for others. The poems detail the act of saying goodbye. Through our lives we say goodbye to people, things, and the more amorphous stuff of life. This book reminded me of why poetry is the essential tool of the mind and heart for doing so.

Some of the poems in the book are ones I know and some I've read often. "The Lost Hotels of Paris" by Jack Gilbert (I adore Gilbert's poetry) and "How It Will Happen, When" by Dorianne Laux are two that I've seen before. Others were new to me: poems by Ellen Bass, Gerald Stern, Rilke, and more. For some of the poems Housden offers a short biography of the poet to explain to the reader how astonishing the poem truly is, especially as it relates to the poet's life (he mentions Gilbert's encroaching dementia to great effect). In others, he remarks on how well a particular poet writes the poetry of humanity. With every poem, however, Housden manages to illuminate the lines and words so that even the most novice reader will understand and appreciate what is happening. The act of reading the poem makes it real.

It's been years since I've read poems like this. Oh, not poems of goodbye or realization or any of the usual human foibles, but rather, it's been years since I've read poems with my writerly eyes stripped away. I try to consider the reader when I am writing, always and of course, but it's been ages since I truly understood what it's like to come to a piece of art, innocent and yearning. Housden somehow manages to capture that essence and give it back to you with his essays. He deciphers the poems without taking away from them. Instead he gifts them to the reader with a sort of step ladder that reaches to the top of those towers of words. The remarkable thing is that he does it without imposing himself onto the poem.

Housden's delightful collection of ten poems, one for every kind of goodbye I can imagine, is definitely a book I would recommend. Both writers and readers will enjoy the gorgeous poetry, some of which I have read and loved for years (selections from Gilbert, Laux, Rilke, and others). Housden's insightful thoughts about the poems illuminate the lines with a joy I didn't expect in a book that documents the act of leaving and letting go. His essays and these ten poems reminded me that ". . . our life of the senses and feelings and thoughts, it all matters after all." Especially when saying goodbye.
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