Cover image for Poems seven : new and complete poetry
Poems seven : new and complete poetry
Dugan, Alan.
Personal Author:
A Seven Stories Press first edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Seven Stories Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxvi, 422 pages : 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3554.U33 P65 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry, the winner of the National Book Award, presents the life work of a giant of American letters, tracks a forty-year career of honest, tough artistry, and shows a man at nearly 80 years of age and still at the height of his poetic power. Dugan's new poems continue his career-long concerns with renewed vigor: the poet's insistence that art is a grounded practice threatened by pretension, the wry wit, the jibes at the academic and sententious, and the arresting observations on the quotidian battles of life. All the while he peppers his poems with humorous images of the grim and daunting topics of existential emptiness.

Author Notes

The Saturday Review said of Poems (1961), the first volume by the native New Yorker Alan Dugan: "His poetry is a special way of looking at things. . . . Through personal experience of war he shapes universal messages, while he takes history, religion, and mythology and gives them an intimate meaning." This book won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1962, and in the same year the poet won a fellowship in literature at the American Academy in Rome. The New York Times found that in Poems 2 (1963), Dugan reveals "a sharp eye for the sights and sounds of New York." In Poems 3, Dugan "writes with an anger at society that moves from artless outcry to black resignation in the face of the world's evils, and back again" (Saturday Review).

(Bowker Author Biography) Alan Dugan's first book, "Poems" was chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets & won its grand prize. Each subsequent book has been simply titled in sequence: the current collection bringing us to "Poems Seven". He has won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Prix de Rome & an award in literature form the American Academy & the Institute of Arts & Letters. He has been a fellow of the National Academy in Rome, the recipient of two Guggenheim Foundation fellowships & a grant form the Rockefeller Foundation. Since 1969, the author has been affiliated with the Provincetown Find Arts Work Center in Provincetown & lives with his wife in Truro, Mass.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dugan's 1961 Poems (that year's Yale Younger Poets winner) turned much of the poetry establishment on its ear: Dugan's irreverent or cynical poems, full of horse sense and completely resistant to gloss, spoke to a community of readers soured on old forms and unattached to new ones. A celebration of spring showed how "the skunk cabbage generates its/ frost-thawing fart-gas in New Jersey and the first/ crocuses appear..." Other poems attacked America's growing involvement in Vietnam, and still others treated sex in memorably, newly flippant ways: "In spring when the ego arose from the genitals/ after a winter's refrigeration, the sergeants/ were angry..." Subsequent books (Poems Two, Poems Three and so on) continued Dugan's project of comic, bleak and formally varied commentary on a dirty, terminally frayed and yet attractive America. Yet Dugan remained aloof from the academy; as a result, his profile gradually dimmed, though he retained an enthused (and amused) core of fans, among them ex-Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky. This carefully constructed, funny and sometimes unvarying volume combines all six of Dugan's previous books with a decade's worth of new verse. One of the best of the new poems finds a domestic urgency: "Don't walk barefoot in the bathroom," it advises; "There was someone in the mirror who I killed." "You'll find in my Collected Poems," another new poem explains, "the palliative answer/ to your stupid questions": many readers just might, and the book's nomination as a National Book Award finalist should bring more of them to it. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Buy this book. Not because Dugan has won the National Book Award, Pulitzer Prize, Prix de Rome, and Yale Younger Poets awards but because he brings an intriguing and idiosyncratic vision to American poetry. This collection includes 35 new poems as well as the best poems from six earlier collections. Dugan examines a cornucopia of topics, but each poem probes one of life's truths. What you remember most after reading Dugan's poems is his sense of play, as evidenced by a few of the titles: "The Esthetics of Circumcision," "On the Supposed Immortality of Orchids," "Gargoyle's Song for a Warming Trend," and "Funeral Oration for a Mouse." Sometimes you're not sure what's happening in a Dugan poem "Marry. Sweets, tarts and sweets,/ come among soots and sherds. The dairy of the breasts" but that sense of mystery and adventure propels you forward. Indeed, Dugan is best when he weds the quotidian with a sense of life's mysteries: "Then the cat began to eat the mouse head first/ instead of going for the easier belly or asshole./ I had always wanted to see the relation/ of blood and roses restated in some novel way,/ without the biological unconsciousness of thorns." Some of the Sixties poems feel dated, but many of these pieces are still fresh. Recommended for all collections. Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., Bloomington, IN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.