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My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy: Poems Paperback – 1 May 2006

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4 out of 5 stars 3 reviews from the U.S.

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"[Robert Bly] brings it all together-integrating erudition, moral concern, introspection and passion." -- John Calvin Rezmerski, Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Readers who miss the direct, daring Bly of the '60s...may rejoice to find that he's back, in force."--Publishers Weekly

"[Robert Bly] brings it all together--integrating erudition, moral concern, introspection and passion."--John Calvin Rezmerski, Minneapolis Star Tribune

[Robert Bly] brings it all together integrating erudition, moral concern, introspection and passion. --John Calvin Rezmerski, Minneapolis Star Tribune"

Readers who miss the direct, daring Bly of the 60s...may rejoice to find that he s back, in force. --Publishers Weekly"

About the Author

Robert Bly's books of poetry include The Night Abraham Called to the Stars and My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy. His awards include the National Book Award for poetry and two Guggenheims. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poems of Longing 21 Dec. 2011
By David Drum - Published on
Robert Bly's My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy is his second book of poetry utilizing the ancient Arabic ghazal form, and many of the works here are lovely and thought-provoking. A few of the poems seemed unfocused on first reading, but I liked them much more the second time.

The poem "Call and Answer," written in opposition to the Iraq War, is the best-known poem in the book. Like the others it is filled with the mystical Islamic spirit of the ghazal, in which the poet is an unrequited lover, addressing an illicit or unattainable love. In "Call and Answer," Bly addresses the citizens of the United States who are "silent as sparrows in the little bushes" as the nation marches off to war. One of my personal favorites is "Hiding in a Drop of Water," like many a poem of mystical longing and an acknowledgement of approaching death.

Bly's strength as a poet, as in other collections such as the magnificent Light Around the Body, which won the National Book Award years ago, is not strictly musical but more in crafting startling images that resonate in the mind. Bly is a Midwestern guy, and we some of that in the flat, direct speech and images of wren's nests, water holes and runaway horses although we also get Samson, Plato, Cezanne, Brahms and Bach. Although he is best known for his Iron John book, and the men's awareness movement that resulted, Bly has always been a poet and this is affirmed again. At more than 80 years of age Bly feels the breath of approaching death on his neck in these poems, and that awareness gives the works great poignance and power.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The graceful/less aging of Robert Bly 24 Oct. 2007
By Bill Huggins - Published on
Format: Paperback
I doubt Robert Bly cares what the critics think of him any more, if he ever concerned himself with such things. The monolithic left excoriated him long ago.. I didn't say "dismissed him", because if that had been the case, they would never have bothered to respond to his call for a new order of men, if you will. His position as unchallenged guru of the men's movement, if not it's founder, remains secure all these years later. All the while, his poetry retains a gentleness and grace that many feminists might think inconsistent with the cartoon figure they love to hate. I don't think they understand that Bly loves women, or is that the biggest problem of all? In any event, the poems of this latest book seem to spin a mystical, almost dreamlike thread, even as they bless mother earth. Bly is secure in his own 80 year old skin... secure in that quiet, Gary Cooper sort of way. He never looked like the hero of High Noon, but he always tried to show men (and all humans) how they might better appreciate their lives and relationships, how they too might become heros....

Bill Huggins
Aiken, SC
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm 7 May 2007
By dandelion - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was excited for Bly's new book. Bly is wonderful. If you have never seen him read, and you love poetry, you must must must find a way to hear & see him. He has written many wonderful books. His last three books (prior to this one) were ten stars. This one... four. I was disappointed. Still, if you are a fan, get it. For the rest of you, I would recommend Morning Poems or his collected.
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