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Authors: Robert Bly
Editors: Dennis Maloney
The Chinese-influenced strain of Bly’s work with its room for movement, spontaneity and openness is celebrated in Like the New Moon I Will Live My Life and most amply showcased in its over 170 poems. The poems, collected from out-of-print books, chapbooks and uncollected work spanning 50 years, form a companion to his recent Stealing Sugar From The Castle: New and Selected Poems.
These hundred or so poems all pre-date 1980, after which we notice a clear shift which I’ll discuss shortly. Generally dating from early to mid-point in Bly’s career, they are in many cases available only in out-of-print chapbooks commanding high prices on the collector’s market. A few have never appeared outside of their original magazine publications. Since Bly has chosen to de-emphasize this body of work in his most recent selected poems, Stealing Sugar from the Castle, giving far more weight to later developments, such as his adaptation of the Middle Eastern ghazal, we might productively view the present collection as a kind of back road running parallel to the more-traveled route of Bly’s selected poems.
Robert Bly was born on December 23, 1926, in Madison, Minnesota. He attended Harvard University and received his M.A. from the University of Iowa in 1956. As a poet, editor, and translator, Bly has had a profound impact on the shape of American poetry.
He is the author of more than thirty books of poetry, including Stealing Sugar from the Castle: Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2013); Talking into the Ear of a Donkey: Poems (2011); Reaching Out to the World: New and Selected Prose Poems (White Pine Press, 2009); My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy (2006); The Night Abraham Called to the Stars (2001); Snowbanks North of the House (1999); Loving a Woman in Two Worlds (1987); This Body is Made of Camphor and Gopherwood (1977); and The Light Around the Body (1967), which won the National Book Award.
As the editor of the magazine The Sixties (begun as The Fifties), Bly introduced many unknown European and South American poets to an American audience. He is also the editor of numerous collections including; The Soul Is Here for Its Own Joy: Sacred Poems from Many Cultures (1995); Leaping Poetry (1975); The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart: Poems for Men (1992); and News of the Universe (1980). Among his many books of translations are Lorca and Jiminez: Selected Poems (Beacon Press, 1997); Machado’s Times Alone: Selected Poems (1983); The Kabir Book (1977); Friends, You Drank Some Darkness: Three Swedish Poets—Martinson, Ekeloef, and Transtromer (1975); and Neruda and Vallejo: Selected Poems (1971).
Bly is also the author of a number of nonfiction books, including The Sibling Society (Addison-Wesley, 1996); The Spirit Boy and the Insatiable Soul (1994); Iron John: A Book about Men (1990); and Talking All Morning: Collected Conversations and Interviews (1980).
His honors include Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships as well as The Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America.
“Here is the essential Robert Bly, ‘a man in love with the setting stars,’ a dark transcendentalist, a troublemaker, a mourner who keeps seeing the walls splashed with blood, a singer of boundless mysteries, imagination’s keeper, a witness to joy. He has been lighting up American poetry for more than sixty years.” (Edward Hirsch)
“[T]his selection indelibly presents Bly as the great successor to Whitman and Pound, with neither the smarmy bonhomie of the former or the captiousness of the latter…. His labor and delight, early and late, is now clearly shown to be the demonstration that all human and nonhuman lives, contexts, and relations are linked by metaphor, that odd mode of understanding by psychological projection and sensory imagination. Like the deathbed edition of Leaves of Grass, this collection is a monument, not to self but to us.” (Booklist, Starred Review)
“Playful, strange and simultaneously startling… Bly’s poetry prizes the imagination for its irrationality, which can take us to beautiful and unexpected places.” (Elizabeth Hoover - Star Tribune)
“The most recent in a line of great American transcendentalist writers.”
—The New York Times
“Bly’s poems flow from... the great current of longing for reality, true maturity, the devotee’s call to the Beloved.”
“Robert Bly changed the course of poetry in America by opening it up to the imagination and the deep-image aesthetic, he is dedicated to reintegrating poetry with life — daily life, the life of the body, spiritual and political life.”
|$17.00||220 pages (Original Trade Paperback)||ISBN: 978-1-935210-64-1||2015|