A. R. Ammons: Selected Poems

A. R. Ammons: Selected Poems


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Meditative, comic, emotionally wrenching, steeped in both the natural world and the life of the mind, the poetry of A. R. Ammons is at once cosmic in scope and intimate in its moment-to-moment transformations. With his mastery of description and cadence, his roiling wit and fearless gaze, Ammons was a philosopher of the everyday who found surprise everywhere he looked. "He is often witty, sometimes bawdy," writes editor David Lehman, "on a perpetual quest to find forms capacious enough for an imagination intent on finding a place for everything."

A compound, in editor David Lehman's words, of "wisdom, pathos, humor, mortal longing, and intimations of immortality," the work of A. R. Ammons is like nothing else in modern American poetry. Ammons's tireless formal invention and restless curiosity about every aspect of nature and of the mind are embodied in poetry that is effortlessly accessible and generous in its impulses. Whether spreading out in the long forms of Tape for the Turn of the Year or Garbage, or honing his perceptions down to the extreme brevity of his shorter lyrics, he holds tight to his vision of the way "all day / life itself is bending, / weaving, changing, / adapting, failing, / succeeding."

This new selection covering the whole range of Ammons's career offers a superb introduction to the pleasures and surprises of his work. His uncanny ability to balance wide-ranging abstract speculation with meticulous observation of natural phenomena, in poetry that encompasses moods of tragic pathos, low comedy, and seemingly casual profundity marks him as one of the preeminent figures in our recent literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931082938
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 04/06/2006
Series: American Poets Project Series , #20
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 1,085,685
Product dimensions: 4.72(w) x 7.79(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

Archie Randolph Ammons (1926-2001) twice won the National Book Award for poetry in a career that extended over five decades and more than two dozen published works.

David Lehman has been the series editor of The Best American Poetry since its creation in 1988. His books of poetry include New and Selected PoemsWhen a Woman Loves a Man, and The Daily Mirror. He teaches in the New School graduate writing program in New York City.

Table of Contents

So I Said I Am Ezra1
A Crippled Angel2
Whose Timeless Reach3
Come Prima5
Mountain Liar6
Gravelly Run7
Uh, Philosophy12
Corsons Inlet18
Mountain Talk25
He Held Radical Light25
from Tape for Turn of the Year28
Cascadilla Falls44
The Put-Down Come On47
Working Still49
The Unifying Principle49
Triphammer Bridge51
The City Limits51
For Harold Bloom53
from Sphere: The Form of a Motion54
One Must Recall as One Mourns the End64
The Perfect Journey Is65
You Can't Imitate65
Some Nights I Go Out to Piss68
In Memoriam Mae Noblitt69
Easter Morning71
Sunday at McDonald's75
The Role of Society in the Artist77
Shit List; or, Omnium-gatherum of Diversity into Unity78
The Fairly High Assimilation Rag81
I Could Not Be Here At All82
Their Sex Life84
For Louise and Tom Gossett84
from Garbage85
Anxiety's Prosody91
Eternity's Taciturnity93
from Glare95
Shot Glass107
Birthday Poem to My Wife109
A Few Acres of Shiny Water110
In View of the Fact111
Frumpy Cronies113
Shuffled Marbles115
Don't Rush on My Account116
Run Ragged117
"When the bubbles of nothingness rise"119
Biographical Note123
Note on the Texts125
Index of Titles and First Lines127

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