The Secret Room: Poems

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New Directions Publishing, 1997 - Poetry - 184 pages
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James Laughlin, poet and publisher, is known in Italy as Il Catullo americano, the American Catullus. Like the Latin poet whom Laughlin has long called his master, the subject at the heart of his work remains "love/...& the lack of love, /which is what makes evil, " but seen now from the wry, often poignant perspective of old age. In his newest collection, The Secret Room, he has gathered nearly 150 poems that address his mature theme in a variety of ways. The philosophical lyrics of "Looking Inward" and th satirical jabs and invectives of "Epigrams and Comic Verses" employ short-line forms, including Laughlin's signature "typewriter metric, " originally devised with the advice of William Carlos Williams. "Byways" continues his autobiographical work-in-progress, in a three-stress line borrowed from Kenneth Rexroth. And with "39 Pentastichs, " Laughlin introduces a five-line stanza in a natural voice cadence suited to casual observations.

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The secret room: poems

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Laughlin (Collected Poems, LJ 11/1/93), the founding publisher of New Directions, shares his thoughts with humor and tenderness as he wades in the waters of his golden years. The speaker in many of ... Read full review

Review: The Secret Room

User Review  - Elizabeth-anne Kim - Goodreads

One of my favorite poetry books ever. The meter isn't quite perfect, and it doesn't have the sophistication of Merrill or Jones (through whom I discovered him), but he has an everyday beauty and a surprisingly earthy sweetness that makes me contemplate the body/soul duality with every reading. Read full review

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About the author (1997)

James Laughlin, the publisher of New Directions books since 1936, is also a noted poet. In his lyrics and in his love poems he blends the spirit of the Latin poets with his own keen ear for the subtleties of colloquial speech. Beneath the wit of this poetry there are pungent truths about the human condition. His "Collected Poems" were published in 1994 by Moyer Bell.
Virginia Schendler has photographed inner-city school children, and has made portraits of writers and artists. In the semi-abstract color photographs of "Phantoms," she has sought to capture some of New York's own expression: the ironies and the humor, the complex and less-familiar provocations of older parts of the city.

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