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Essays on Departure: New and Selected Poems 1980-2005 Paperback – 26 Oct 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd (26 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1903039789
  • ISBN-13: 978-1903039786
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,343,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Marilyn Hacker was born in New York City in 1942. She is the author of several books of poetry, including Desesperanto: Poems 1999-2002 (W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2003); First Cities: Collected Early Poems 1960-1979 (2003); Squares and Courtyards (2000); Winter Numbers (1994), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award; Selected Poems, 1965-1990 (1994), which received the Poets' Prize; Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons (1986); Assumptions (1985); Taking Notice (1980); Going Back to the River (1990), for which she received a Lambda Literary Award; Separations (1976); and Presentation Piece (1974), which was the Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets and a National Book Award winner. She also translated Venus Khoury-Ghata's poetry, published in She Says (2003) and Here There Was Once a Country (2001). Hacker was editor of The Kenyon Review from 1990 to 1994, and has received numerous honors, including the Bernard F. Conners Prize from the Paris Review, the John Masefield Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. She lives in New York City and Paris.

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Format: Paperback
I was introduced to the work of Marilyn Hacker by the Liverpool poet Pauline Rowe. Initially I found the subjects of the themes of her poem to be `typical of a woman poet' (chicklit). How wrong I was. The more I read of this poet the more the celebration of life in general, shone through.

Hacker could show many of today's poets (especially the British) how poetry should be composed. Her approach to her art is disciplined and she shares that approach with that great 20th century poet, Elisabeth Bishop.

This collection is an outstanding introduction to Hacker's work. Selections from nine of her volumes plus new poems represents some of the most dynamic poetry written today.
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Format: Paperback
Although I’ve read individual poems before, this is the first time I’ve been able to absorb myself in her work. Born in New York and now living in Paris, her work is well known for it’s colloquial speech and formal invention. Jewish, feminist and lesbian, her poems connect the personal – love, breast cancer, AIDS, friendship, the street life of New York and Paris – with the political: bigotry, anti-Semitism, American foreign policy, war.

Reading her Essays on Departure: New and Selected Poems (Carcanet) and her most recent collection Names, what strikes me most is the humanity of the poems. They are exuberance, inclusive, bothered about life (in the best sense) and very candid. I’m especially drawn to her journal-like poems that spiral out from the act of writing to the street-life around her – the smell of potatoes frying in a nearby apartment, dustmen, an elderly lady who lives downstairs – into American political life, wars, immigrant, then back again to fears of aging or struggling with illness or the death of loved ones. This is modern poetry, almost a street poetry: it connects – bringing together the personal and the universal, the dark and light, the beautiful and the ugly, the tragedy and comedy of modern life.

Reading Marilyn’s poems, I’m left with that hallmark-feeling of really good poetry: after I put the book down, everything around me – the streets of Bethnal Green, walking to the Tube or the local park, coffee with friends – starts to feel like it might be poetry or might be becoming poetry. It’s as if Marilyn’s poem have touched the unseen, unvalued poetry of life – a sort of heightening of meaning and sense of connectedness in the face of the quotidian.
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