Cover image for Selected poems
Title:
Selected poems
Author:
Morris, John N.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
St. Louis : Washington University in St. Louis, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
155 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780972096607

9780972096621
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Item Holds
Searching...
PS3563.O8744 A6 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

POETRY. SELECTED POEMS, the first published overview of a distinguished careerin poetry, has been drawn from the four volumes of verse publishedduring Morris's lifetime (along with three poems discovered after hisdeath) and is movingly introduced by the distinguished critic andteacher Helen Vender. "In Morris's hands the innocent activities of everyday life . take on a macabre clarity of outline. Read him and you cannot live your own life innocently again"-Helen Vendler.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

The quiet desperation and the long perspectives of middle-American comfort provided the deftly handled and uncommonly moving subjects for Morris (1931-1997), who transformed them into laconic, well-crafted poems. Morris' first book, Green Business (1970), established his topics and tones: quatrains and terse trimeter columns described an unlived life of desks and whiskey, of "suburban work/ You are not suited to," where "Whatever you do/ Occurs at a distance." Later books added historical subjects and mordant puns, making for a body of work always restrained, mostly sad, and often quotable. "Archaeology" begins "Almost nothing mysterious is/ To be found./ This attracts us." "At Forest Lawn Cemetery" (in Los Angeles) ends with Morris' plans to visit, next, "the Homes of the Stars/ And the Universal Lot." Strong poems address lost and realized hopes which link grandfathers to fathers, and fathers to sons: "They are what I would keep/ Until I leave them." Such musings on mortality and nostalgia made Morris the closest American poetry could get to Philip Larkin. Morris published his last book of verse in 1987; he devoted his last years to Then, an unfinished memoir. Born to genteel parents of some wealth, Morris saw his father recede into mental illness; his mother remarried in New York City, then moved the family to upstate New York and (after his stepfather's death) to North Carolina, from which he entered a military school. Two complete chapters about Morris' childhood show fine writing, but little to make his life stand out; the less-polished chapter on military school (and on his adult service in postwar Korea) offers more surprises. The real power lies in the poems; this very handsome selection, with its substantial, convincing introduction from Vendler, should certainly broaden his group of admirers. As a set, the books land midway between an in-house tribute (Morris taught at Washington University) and a serious effort to relaunch a neglected writer. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Publisher's Weekly Review

The quiet desperation and the long perspectives of middle-American comfort provided the deftly handled and uncommonly moving subjects for Morris (1931-1997), who transformed them into laconic, well-crafted poems. Morris' first book, Green Business (1970), established his topics and tones: quatrains and terse trimeter columns described an unlived life of desks and whiskey, of "suburban work/ You are not suited to," where "Whatever you do/ Occurs at a distance." Later books added historical subjects and mordant puns, making for a body of work always restrained, mostly sad, and often quotable. "Archaeology" begins "Almost nothing mysterious is/ To be found./ This attracts us." "At Forest Lawn Cemetery" (in Los Angeles) ends with Morris' plans to visit, next, "the Homes of the Stars/ And the Universal Lot." Strong poems address lost and realized hopes which link grandfathers to fathers, and fathers to sons: "They are what I would keep/ Until I leave them." Such musings on mortality and nostalgia made Morris the closest American poetry could get to Philip Larkin. Morris published his last book of verse in 1987; he devoted his last years to Then, an unfinished memoir. Born to genteel parents of some wealth, Morris saw his father recede into mental illness; his mother remarried in New York City, then moved the family to upstate New York and (after his stepfather's death) to North Carolina, from which he entered a military school. Two complete chapters about Morris' childhood show fine writing, but little to make his life stand out; the less-polished chapter on military school (and on his adult service in postwar Korea) offers more surprises. The real power lies in the poems; this very handsome selection, with its substantial, convincing introduction from Vendler, should certainly broaden his group of admirers. As a set, the books land midway between an in-house tribute (Morris taught at Washington University) and a serious effort to relaunch a neglected writer. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved