*Starred Review* This big book corrals all 14 of Bly's original collections of poems, minus the previously uncollected pieces in his several self-selections, such as Stealing Sugar from the Castle (2013), and his translations. The early collections, including the National Book Award–winning The Light around the Body (1967), seem to show a classical Chinese poet reincarnated in southwest Minnesota farm country but hardly confined to it, ranging east to MacDougal Street and Merritt Parkway to Washington to protest the Vietnam War, west to the Pacific coast and China. The 1980s books lay the groundwork for the mythopoetic men's movement launched by Bly's prose best-seller, Iron John (1990); they incorporate myths from several more cultures besides those touched on in his early poems. The 1990s collections communicate more directly than those before and after them; not coincidentally, they include a suite on his father's dying and many considerations of other poets. The twenty-first-century volumes teem with examples of the ramage, Bly's invention consisting of 6 tercets of 10- to 13-syllable lines; occasionally, Bly borrows from the ghazel to have every tercet end with the same word. In them, he further develops the deep image poem (a career-long passion), in which physical and mental images associate across time, places, and cultures by means of emotion and revelation rather than logic or rhetoric. Magnificent. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
An extraordinary culmination for Robert Bly’s lifelong intellectual adventure, Collected Poems presents the full magnitude of his body of work for the first time. Bly has long been the voice of transcendentalism and meditative mysticism for his generation; every stage of his work is warmed by his devotion to the art of poetry and his affection for the varied worlds that inspire him. Influenced by Emerson and Thoreau alongside spiritual traditions from Sufism to Gnosticism, he is a poet moved by mysteries, speaking the language of images. Collected Poems gathers the fourteen volumes of his impressive oeuvre into one place, including his imagistic debut, Silence in the Snowy Fields (1962); the clear-eyed truth-telling of his National Book Award–winning collection, The Light Around the Body (1967); the masterful prose poems of The Morning Glory (1975); and the fiercely introspective, uniquely American ghazals of his latest collection, Talking into the Ear of a Donkey (2011).A monumental poetic achievement, Collected Poems makes clear why poets and lovers of poetry have long looked to Robert Bly for emotional authenticity, moral authority, and artistic inspiration. - (WW Norton)
Gathering more than sixty years of poetry, Collected Poems showcases the brilliant career of a "great American transcendentalist" (New York Times). - (WW Norton)