Sadness and Happiness: Poems

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Princeton University Press, Dec 21, 1975 - Poetry - 88 pages
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From Sadness and Happiness: Poems by Robert Pinsky:
CEREMONY FOR ANY BEGINNING

Robert Pinsky ?

Against weather, and the random
Harpies--mood, circumstance, the laws
Of biography, chance, physics--
The unseasonable soul holds forth,
Eager for form as a renowned
Pedant, the emperor's man of worth,
Hereditary arbiter of manners.

Soul, one's life is one's enemy.
As the small children learn, what happens
Takes over, and what you were goes away.
They learn it in sardonic soft
Comments of the weather, when it sharpens
The hard surfaces of daylight: light
Winds, vague in direction, like blades

Lavishing their brilliant strokes
All over a wrecked house,
The nude wallpaper and the brute
Intelligence of the torn pipes.
Therefore when you marry or build
Pray to be untrue to the plain
Dominance of your own weather, how it keeps

Going even in the woods when not
A soul is there, and how it implies
Always that separate, cold
Splendidness, uncouth and unkind--
On chilly, unclouded mornings,
Torrential sunlight and moist air,
Leafage and solid bark breathing the mist.

 

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Contents

Poem About People
3
The Time Of Year The Time Of Day
5
Ceremony For Any Beginning
6
Waiting
7
December Blues
9
Discretions Of Alcibiades
10
Tennis
13
Sadness And Happiness
17
Daughter
38
The Personal Devil
41
Spelunker
42
The Generation Before
44
The Street Of Furthest Memory
45
The Street Of Furthest Memory
47
Long Branch New Jersey
48
Doctor Frolic
49

Sadness And Happiness
19
Persons
29
To My Father
31
Old Woman
33
Library Scene
34
First Early Mornings Together
36
The Sentences
37
Pleasure Pier
50
The Destruction Of Long Branch
51
The Beach Women
53
Essay On Psychiatrists
55
Essay On Psychiatrists
57
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About the author (1975)

Robert Pinsky was born in Long Branch, New Jersey, and studied at Rutgers and Stanford Universities. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Wellesley College, and the University of California, Berkeley. For several years the poetry editor of The New Republic, he has won the Oscar Blumenthal Prize (1978) and Woodrow Wilson and Fulbright grants. His book of criticism, The Situation of Poetry: Contemporary Poetry and Its Traditions (1976), is referred to often. He has argued for, and written, a poetry of discursiveness, one that can treat abstract thought and social reality as well as subjectivity and deep emotion.

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