In the winter ofmy wife and I experienced a heartbreak that left me unsure of how to even breathe, let alone grieve. On March 1st,I found a copy of W. I have almost no idea what most of this poetry means. But I know that it fills me with a profound sadness that is, at the same time, brimming with hope. I recently heard Mr.
Merwin discussing the origin of the title of his collection. He related that scientists have discovered that the star known as Sirius is actually a star system. What looks to The Shadow Outside - Winds Of Sirius - Beyond All Temples And Myths (CD eye like a single object is actually many.
Merwin found himself wondering what is on the other side of Sirus, lying in its shadow. Each movement offers my reflection on a single Merwin poem from the collection. Although the work is played without pause, the soloist plays unaccompanied solos to separates the individual movements. The work is dedicated to the fantastic Amy Porter. Grateful acknowledgment is made to the Copper Canyon Press, which has granted permission to reprint W. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.
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Merwin has proven himself time and time again to be a champion of the pen and prose, and this slim collection may be one of his very best. These memories form the building blocks of our character, and are always hand in hand with the present forming the bigger picture of everything we do. Merwin reflects often upon his mother, now gone into the shadow, and the lessons and values she instilled in him. From Rain Light: All day the stars watch from long ago my mother said I am going now when you are alone you will be all right whether or not you know you will know Merwin demonstrates how life is a collection of wisdom we gain through experience.
He shows how each day, each vision, each color, smell and feel of the world which we pass through, leaves an imprint upon our minds and souls. We are always growing, always changing, always learning.
Worn Words: The late poems are the ones I turn to first now following a hope that keeps beckoning me waiting somewhere in the lines almost in plain sight it is the late poems that are made of words that have come the whole way they have been there As the title implies, we are in the shadow of Sirius, the shadow of the heavens and of eternity.
We are doomed to return to the dust, mortal in an vast endless sea of space. Like the star Sirius, we are a bright shining speck in the void, our memories and actions blaze through the darkness of existence until we are extinguished, but such a blaze of light is what casts shadows.
Through the collection of memories, through the fusion of past and present, through our acquisition of wisdom, we form a space in the void of existence that leaves a shadow, leaves a mark, leaves a legacy, that is both ephemeral and eternal. The language is simple, the metaphors and similies are nothing that will baffle the reader, but it works well to create a visceral vision inside the reader that is vibrant and immediate, while also haunting and translucent as a dream from which you have just woken.
For those who love poetry, for those who love words, and for those who love life, this is an extraordinary collection and a great introduction into the works of an American treasure. The great W. View all 27 comments. Dec 04, Wealhtheow rated it really liked it Shelves: poetry. I love Merwin's poetry, which has a little sarcastic edge to it sometimes but always a sense of wonder and hope tinged with loss. Not much regret, though, and I like that.
He writes with a sense of acceptance that I wish I had myself. I like his deceptively clear and simple style, as well. He says a lot in a very little while. My favorite in this book was "Youth," Through all of youth I was looking for you without knowing what I was looking for or what to call you I think I did not even know I was lo I love Merwin's poetry, which has a little sarcastic edge to it sometimes but always a sense of wonder and hope tinged with loss.
My favorite in this book was "Youth," Through all of youth I was looking for you without knowing what I was looking for or what to call you I think I did not even know I was looking how would I have known you when I saw you as I did time after time when you appeared to me as you did naked offering yourself entirely at that moment and you let me breathe you touch you taste you knowing no more than I did and only when I began to think of losing you did I recognize you when you were already part memory part distance remaining mine in the ways that I learn to miss you from what we cannot hold the stars are made View 1 comment.
No review can do justice to half a lifetime of reading, despite what reviewers continuously imply. But there was increasingly a chill in Merwin, a kind of persistent, deep in the bones kind of cold. They fluctuated from astonishingly lucent to weirdly opaque, from ferocious to hypnotized. His later work--this book is fromeleven years before he died--is like a diffuse deep luminous fog. It is lovely but textureless. Its surface is crossed by small brittle waves, worrying themselves over damp sand that's partly from one of his images : in "The Shadow of Sirius" he is both slightly troubled and inconsolably deeply wounded, Album), and at the same time he is also, sadly for his readers, at peace.
After a while, reading the older Merwin, I felt chill, as if I had been walking too long on a foggy seashore. Merwin's later poetry was not just a "last style" a distinction Erwin Panofsky made about Albrecht Duerer, whom Panofsky said simply oscillated between stylesbut something different, which clearly presupposed the "early" and "middle" styles.
But it was also a counterexample to Said's praise of canonical late styles in Mann, Beethoven, Genet, Euripides, and others. Merwin's late style was something chill and quiet, not unpleasant, and not narrow, but also no longer responsive to the work and ideas of thirty and forty years before. It is possible to have a coherent and strong late style that is so far removed from earlier ways of writing that it is effectively written by someone else--as distant as Sirius.
View all 3 comments. Aug 25, M Wiegers rated it it was amazing. Amazing, existentialist book. If it were possible, this book should be printed on translucent pages. In the end, the words remain and rise into being, floating in the world. May be his best in many years. Gorgeous, sad, full of love--I could go on with hyperbole--this book makes me happy to be alive and in the presence of such a writer.
May 31, Bruce rated it it was amazing. This has the effect, inter alia, of making ambiguous whether a word of phrase applies to what precedes or to what follows it, creating delicious ambiguity and multiple meanings. Eras elide, superimpose. Memories collide with present reality - but which is in fact more real?
The poems are truly enchanting, drawing the reader into a consciousness that is aware of underlying currents of intuitive knowing, into an awareness of reality beyond or underneath the metaphors that attempt to express experience.
They invite and even compel one to read and reread, each reexamination revealing fresh nuances and understandings. Feb 12, Sarah rated it really liked it Shelves: read-inpoetry. The Shadow of Sirius I really love W. Merwin relies entirely on the resonant power of language. It also seems completely unnecessary to give him a Pulitzer Prize, like throwing a twig on the bonfire. I hope he lives long enough for them to realize it. I opened the book pretty much daring Merwin to do it again.
Yes, he can. But Sirius is the brightest, most searing, most serious star. View 2 comments. There's a wonderful lack of obscurity here combined with an emotional directness that is rare in poetry, rare even in Merwin's poetry. I found the book powerful and recommend it highly. Merwin, The Shadow of Sirius Copper Canyon Press, There are some poets who come relatively close to the household-name threshold, even in an America where poetry is about as dead as the influence of the Kennedy clan.
Merwin is one of them. And, most recently, he was named Poet Laureate The Shadow Outside - Winds Of Sirius - Beyond All Temples And Myths (CD the United States. And this is not an exhaustive list by any means. I figured it was probably time to get around to reading him. Why not start with a Pulitzer winner? As well, I've been on a run of really, really good poetry recently I've given two five-star and one four-and-a-half-star reviews to poetry books in the last two months, and that has never happened beforeso I went into this confident that I'd love it.
And then I started reading. Now, I grant you, Merwin does come up with a line every now and again that makes a reader stop in his tracks and think about what an awesome line it is. Merwin adopts Apollinaire's tactic of leaving out all punctuation, but his language doesn't have the ebb and flow one expects from poets who do this; his rhythms jar far more than roll. The images are stock, and while there are real emotions behind them once in a while, it's not enough to transcend the quotidian nature of the work itself.
There's some good stuff here, but not nearly enough to occasion doing more than taking it out of the library. Apr 21, Patrick Gibson rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: to everyone. Shelves: poetry. Oh my He is a magnificent poet. He just won the Pulitzer. Not sure? Read this Under the overturned lute with its One string I am going my way Which has a strange sound. This way the dust, that way the dust. I listen to both sides But I keep right on. I remember the leaves sitting in judgment And then winter.
I remember the rain with its bundle of roads. The rain taking all its roads. Young as I am, old as I am, I forget Oh my Young as I am, old as I am, I forget tomorrow, the blind man. I forget the life among the buried windows. The eyes in the curtains. The wall Growing through the immortelles. I forget silence The owner of the smile. This must be what I wanted to be doing, Walking at night between the two deserts, Singing.
Sep 30, Maria rated it it was amazing. I have read other books by W. Merwin -- his poetry and also his translations -- but was unfamiliar with this latest collection of poems entitled "The Shadow of Sirius" until I was given it as a birthday present.
Like a lot of Merwin's later poetry, this collection of poems The Shadow Outside - Winds Of Sirius - Beyond All Temples And Myths (CD about age and mortality. As this collection suggests, however, the shadow of Sirius is the holding metaphor for the poems. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and its name from the Greek refers to the scorching I have read other books by W.
Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky and its name from the Greek refers to the scorching or searing quality of this star's light. Sirius is also the place to which, according to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, souls go after they leave the body. Sirius also represents renewal in the way the yearly flooding of the Nile brought new life to the the Egyptians by creating fertile soil for new plantings. These poems exist in the shadow of this bright star's scorching light.
The shadow is memory itself -- it is the play of light, darkness, temporality, and eternity interweaving with Merwin's memories that give us an insight to existence ours, his? Writing a review about a collection of poems is difficult precisely because poetry is not narrative and cannot be captured so easily in language. The best way to give a taste of what it is like to journey through these poems is to quote directly from the poet, himself, as he calls forth from the universe's chiaroscuro shadows a language that tells us of his memories.
In an entitled Blueberries After Dark, he recalls his mother's death and also all the deaths and losses in her life The "night" or death is described as something that tastes like blueberries eaten "one at a time, not early or late. Of a lost love, he writes Through all of youth I was looking for you without knowing what I was looking for or what to call you I think I did not even know I was looking how would I have known you when I saw you as I did time after time when you appeared to me as you did naked offering yourself entirely at that moment and you let me breathe you touch you taste you knowing no more than I did and only when I began to think of losing you did I recognize you when you were already part memory part distance remaining mine in the ways that I learn to Album) you from what we cannot hold the stars are made Sirius is also referred to as the Dog Star.
In a poem where he takes us back into the shadows of Sirius, we are following a black dog, making an oblique reference here to this other name for Sirius.
I can see nothing there but the black dog the dog I know going ahead of me not looking back oh it is the black dog I trust now in my turn after the years when I had all the trust of the black dog through an age of brightness and through shadow on into the blindness of the black dog where the rooms of the dark were already known We are, as Merwin tells us at the beginning of this poem, in the land of the shades or the shadows: "When it is time I follow the black dog into the darkness that is the mind of day In another poem, he captures how the past illuminates the present -- the past is always part of the present.
See how the past is not finished here in the present it is awake the whole time never waiting And how poignant his poem that captures the elusiveness of the moment and the difficulty of remembering.
He hints that not being able to re-capture the moment in memory is perhaps our way of protecting ourselves from experiencing the pain of loss again. He calls this poem "One of the Butterflies. In The Making of Amber, he writes The September flocks form crying gathering southward even small birds knowing for the first time how to fly all the way as one at daybreak the split fig is filled with dew the finch find it like something it remembers then across the afternoon the grape vine hangs low in the doorway and grapes one by one taste warm on the tongue transparent and soundless rich with late daylight In September's Child, the beekeeper in me resonates to the image of "old hands holding honey jars sunlight on weathered faces knowing summer and winter well but bound to neither of them.
O nameless joy of the morning tumbling upward note by note out of the night and the hush of the dark valley and out of whatever has not been there son unquestioning and unbounded yes this is the place and the one time in the whole of before and after with all of memory waking into it and the lost visages that hover around the edge Album) sleep constant and clear and the words that lately have fallen silent to surface among the phrases of some future if there is a future here is where they all sing the first daylight whether or not there is anyone listening.
As with all poetry, this is not the end of my reading of this collection of poems. It is opening the door to returning to plumb the depths of these poems again and again, finding something new to experience each time. May 19, martha rated it really liked it Shelves:poetry. I've been on a huge Merwin kick lately, and wondering why I overlooked him for so long. This was a great choice for which book of his to read, since it just won the Pulitzer in poetry.
I'm blaming that for the fact that there's an actual waiting list at the library for it; and the general nerdiness of Boston.
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