Other books byMark Strand
From Pulitzer Prize–winner Mark Strand comes an exquisitely witty and poignant series of prose poems. Sometimes appearing as pure prose, sometimes as impure poetry, but always with Strand’s clarity and simplicity of style, they are like riddles, their answers vanishing just as they appear within reach. Fable, domestic satire, meditation, joke, and fantasy all come together in what is arguably the liveliest, most entertaining book that Strand has yet written.
Man and Camel
This eleventh collection by Mark Strand is a toast to life’s transience and abiding beauty. He begins with a group of light but haunting fables, populated by figures like the King, a tiny creature in ermine who has lost his desire to rule, and by the poet’s own alter ego, who recounts the fetching mystery of the title poem: “I sat on the porch having a smoke / when out of the blue a man and a camel / happened by.” The poet has Arctic adventures and encounters with the bearded figure of Death; in his controlled tone, he creates his bold visions and shows us, like a magician, how they vanish in a blink. Gradually, his fancies give way to powerful scenes of loss, as in “The Mirror,” where the face of a beautiful woman stares past him into a place I could only imagine . . . as if just then I were stepping from the depths of the mirror into that white room, breathless and eager, only to discover too late that she is not there. Man and Camel concludes with a small masterpiece of meditations crafted around the Seven Last Words of Christ. Here, this secular poet finds resonance in the bedrock of Christ’s language, the actual words that have governed so many generations of thought and belief. As always with Mark Strand, the discovery of meaning in the sound of language itself is an act of faith that enlightens us and carries us beyond the bounds of the rational. From the Hardcover edition.
New Selected Poems
From Sleeping with One Eye Open (1964) through the wonderful middle work that includes The Continuous Life (1990) and crowned by the Pulitzer Prize–winning Blizzard of One (1998) and his most recent new collection, Man and Camel (2006), this book gives us an essential selection of Mark Strand’s poetry from across the entire span of his remarkable career to date.
The Weather of Words
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, a brilliant and witty collection of writings on the art and nature of poetry -- a master class both entertaining and provocative. The pieces have a broad range and many levels. In one, we sit with the teenage Mark Strand while he reads for the first time a poem that truly amazes him: "You, Andrew Marvell" by Archibald MacLeish, in which night sweeps in an unstoppable but exhilarating circle around the earth toward the speaker standing at noon. The essay goes on to explicate the poem, but it also evokes, through its form and content, the poem's meaning -- time's circular passage -- with the young Strand first happening upon the poem, the older Strand seeing into it differently, but still amazed. Among the other subjects Strand explores: the relationship between photographs and poems, the eternal nature of the lyric, the contemporary use of old forms, four American views of Parnassus, and an alphabet of poetic influences. We visit as well Strandian parallel universes, whose absurdity illuminates the lack of a vital discussion of poetry in our culture at large: Borges drops in on a man taking a bath, perches on the edge of the tub, and discusses translation; a president explains in his farewell address why he reads Chekhov to his cabinet. Throughout The Weather of Words, Mark Strand explores the crucial job of poets and their readers, who together joyfully attempt the impossible -- to understand through language that which lies beyond words. From the Hardcover edition.