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Figured Wheel

Robert Pinsky

Figured Wheel
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 857542 98 1
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 1996
231 x 151 x 17 mm
320 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • The opening scene. The yellow, coal-fed fog
    Uncurling over the tainted city river,
    A young girl rowing and her anxious father
    Scavenging for corpses. Funeral meats. The clever
    Abandoned orphan. The great athletic killer
    Sulking in his tent. As though all stories began
    With someone dying.

    'Poem with Refrains'

    Welcoming Robert Pinsky's work, Robert Lowell wrote: 'it is refreshing to find a poet who is intellectually interesting and technically first-rate. Robert Pinsky belongs to that rarest category of talent, a poet-critic.'
    The Figured Wheel gathers together all Pinsky's poetry to date, including twenty-one new poems. The celebrated verse essay An Explanation  of America (Carcanet, 1980) remains at the heart of things; this book also includes 'Ginza Samba', an astonishing history of the saxophone; and 'Impossible to Tell', a jazz-like poem that combines elegy with the Japanese custom of linking-poems and the American tradition of ethnic jokes. Sadness and Happiness (1975), History of My Heart (1984) and The Want Bone (1990), the earlier books, are here. Also included are some of his translations of Czeslaw Milosz, Paul Celan and others, and the last canto of his version of Dante's Inferno. Pinsky combines 'abstract utterance and vivid image', Louis Martz wrote, and 'points the way toward the future of poetry'. 'Above inventors, said Pound, stand the small class of "masters", those who, apart from their own inventions, are able to assimilate and co-ordinate a large number of preceding inventions. This,' declared the Salmagundi reviewer, 'near the end of the twentieth century is what Robert Pinsky is doing.'

    Robert Pinsky was born in 1940 in Long Branch, New Jersey. His poetry books include The Figured Wheel, awarded the Lenore Marshall Prize, The Inferno of Dante, which won the Howard Morton Landon Prize in translation and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and Gulf Music . His prose ... read more
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