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This Scribe, My Hand : The Complete Poems of Ben Belitt, PDF eBook

This Scribe, My Hand : The Complete Poems of Ben Belitt PDF


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This volume brings together a lifetime's achievement by one of America's outstanding poets of the twentieth century. Though his earliest poems were published more than sixty years ago, Ben Belitt's works in sum are likely to strike readers today with the force of unprecedented encounter. A poet of abundance and sometimes carnivalesque riotousness, Belitt also calls to mind the intensity and eruptiveness of Hopkins, the double passion for the infinite and the empirical exemplified by Neruda, and the lustrous word-painting associated with Keatsian Romanticism. But as these diverse predecessors suggest, Belitt is altogether an original, whose derivation is as multiple as his figuration.

His concerns range from the appalled enthrallment with violence and disorder to the rage to learn how one can live in chance and confront the mandates of mortality. Scrupulously attentive to place, moving steadily in his works between northern vistas (Vermont, Block Island, New York) and southern (Mexico, Spain, Italy), Belitt is also haunted by a sense of fated displacements and havoc. Many of his best poems are elegiac, and his autobiographical works possess a posthumous air. In "This Scribe, My Hand," perhaps his greatest poem in this genre, Belitt offers a powerful tribute to Keats while concurrently meditating upon his own forfeits and failures. The startling poem-en-prose "School of the Soldier," previously unpublished in book form, is also included.

At once poignant in their confrontation of loss and defiant in their insistence upon connection, meaning, and wholeness, Belitt's poems offer readers a fresh opportunity to discover "the fascination of what is difficult" and distinctive, marvelously rich and achingly human.


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