Of the Great House: A Book of Poems

Front Cover
New Directions Publishing, 1982 - Poetry - 88 pages
0 Reviews

"A book of poems should have exactly the same fullness and risk and lay itself open to the same judgment as a life," says Allen Grossman. Of the Great House, which includes sections of A Harlot's Hire (1961), Grossman's first published book, as well as his most recent poetry, presents an anatomy of the poet's working life. The title poem invokes "the sighted singer, in a/Passionate, laboring house," who confronts those figures in his unconscious which influence and interfere with poetic vision, braving the necessary destructions until "there is nothing in place of what/I know, the only thing that is--the world." Part II, "The Pictures in a Man's Life," seeks out relationships among the haunting, inspiring, "demonically incoherent facts of life in the world--the poet's parents, yellowwoods blooming on a lawn, closeness to an earlier self. "The Dream Which Wakes the Sleeper Does Not End" contains poems from an earlier life, and Of the Great House closes with "An Inventory of Destructions," a summing and a summoning: "the poet speaks to the unborn in the/language of the born, and to the born he speaks/The language of the unborn--Break down and build /Destructions are of the poet. Death is of God."


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


The Dream of Rescue
The Only Thing That Is
A Little Sleep
The Prothanation of a Charioteer
Where are the objects of desire?
Notes and Amplifications

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1982)

Allen Grossman was born in 1932 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received a B.A. and a M.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Brandeis University. He taught at Brandeis University for 35 years before moving to Johns Hopkins University, where he taught from 1991 until his retirement in 2006. His collections of poetry include The Ether Dome and Descartes' Loneliness. He received numerous awards during his lifetime including three Pushcart Prizes, the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry, the Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize in Poetry of Wellesley College, the Sheaffer-PEN/Nex England Award for Literary Distinction, and Yale University's Bollingen Prize. He died of complications from Alzheimer's on June 27, 2014 at the age of 82.

Bibliographic information