james merrill: c/d, s/d

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i sold my hardcover copy of "collected poems" when i moved (too bulky).

should i pick up the trade paper?

is there an easier way to get all the james merrill i need?

also, very informative commentary on the ted hughes thread - what does everybody think of james merrill?

vahid (vahid), Sunday, 12 February 2006 05:58 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I love James Merrill. The Changing Light at Sandover is my favorite American epic poem. I mean I do love "Song of Myself," The Bridge, and AR Ammons' Sphere (never read Paterson, never finished The Cantos or The Four Quartets, never got much into Olson)--but o Sandover . . . it's unabashedly mystical and optimistic, related with consummate lyrical skill, erudition, and genteel humor. Who'd have thought that given our literary tradition and our culture, hostile to intellectual achievement, that something as grand as Sandover could be composed here?

I'm not terribly familiar with his short poems, though. What's a good one or two?

cosmic rough rider, Monday, 13 February 2006 16:20 (twelve years ago) Permalink

James Merrill had complete control over the tools of his trade. He was precise in his language, took care of structure, could arrange very simple words for very complex effects. He was a masterly poet.

His poetry is on the sedate side. I expect he was a civil and reliable friend and neighbor, as the run of poets goes (and the run of poets has a definite streak of disorderliness and madness in it). He draws a lot of his imagery from opera and the theater, the simulacra of passion.

On the whole, I like his work. You can sit with it, brush aside the surfaces and find little fascinations to appreciate. There's almost always something to go back for - but don't expect big flourishes and stagey effects. He won't leave you sucker-punched and gasping for your next breath. But he'll guide you throuogh and exact series of small motions in your attention that add up to more than their parts and linger in your brain cells.

His nearest counterpart in terms of both perfection of craft and tone is probably Elizabeth Bishop.

Aimless (Aimless), Tuesday, 14 February 2006 03:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

aimless is otm, i admire his wordcraft, but he seems to tidy and neat for full appreciation, it seemed an expansive hobby to me, as a man of leisure he could afford to do such silly things

anthony easton (anthony), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:55 (twelve years ago) Permalink

aimless is otm, i admire his wordcraft, but he seems to tidy and neat for full appreciation, it seemed an expansive hobby to me, as a man of leisure he could afford to do such silly things

(thats my biography again, and i should quit doing that.)

he and bishop were close friends and she championed his work, adn their letters are one of the best documents of american poetics, t ender, loving, complicated, and astonshing in their vitrouso control of languge, even in something so personal

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/article-preview?article_id=1182
http://www.biblio.com/details.php?dcx=51354565&src=frg

anthony easton (anthony), Wednesday, 15 February 2006 23:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Wow! anthony rates me at least 50% more otm than usual! thanks, bro.

Aimless (Aimless), Thursday, 16 February 2006 02:09 (twelve years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Cross-indexing the Bishop v. Larkin thread.

I almost wrote my masters thesis on Merrill. "Days of 1994," written just before he died, destroys me.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 19 December 2010 03:28 (seven years ago) Permalink

Anyone read his prose? I picked up the collected novels and plays as a remainder, and am wondering what bit would be good to start with.

buildings with goats on the roof (James Morrison), Monday, 20 December 2010 00:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

His novels are awful. I've tried.

Gus Van Sotosyn (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 20 December 2010 01:15 (seven years ago) Permalink

Aw crap

buildings with goats on the roof (James Morrison), Monday, 20 December 2010 03:10 (seven years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

Okay, just got a copy of Divine Comedies out of the library. Will see how it goes.

Exile's Return To Sender (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 30 August 2015 00:55 (three years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

This poem combined with this piece of biography is a hell of a thing:

Yes.This is typescript version—w/ it’s “ornament” on top & “trunk”of still alive but felled evergreen.The missing “other”half is what haunted me.I think the reasons are obvious as one enters the“after”life...what’s in the “other”side of which this side is the shadow, the poem? https://t.co/RWaXeKpWKt

— Jorie graham (@jorie_graham) December 1, 2018

... (Eazy), Saturday, 1 December 2018 18:03 (one week ago) Permalink

Yes. The image I shared 👆🏼is from the memorial issue of POETRY for JM. Later, the poem would be formatted somewhat differently, as👇🏼(from the Selected), which was, according to Langdon Hammer’s bio, closer to what JM had in mind (and an echo of this Fairfield Porter print). pic.twitter.com/M1khHwRpqK

— Kamran Javadizadeh (@kjavadizadeh) December 1, 2018

... (Eazy), Saturday, 1 December 2018 18:03 (one week ago) Permalink

The Hammer bio is one of the best literary ones I've read.

I like queer. You like queer, senator? (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 1 December 2018 18:11 (one week ago) Permalink


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