From Second Draft:What other people learnFrom birth,Betrayal,I learned late.My soul perchedOn an olive branchCombing itself,Waving its plumes. I saidBeing mortal,I aspire toMortal things.I need you,Said my soul,If you’re telling the truth.Draft of a Letter is a book about belief—not belief in the unknowable but belief in what seems bewilderingly plain. Pondering the bodieFrom Second Draft:What other people learnFrom birth,Betrayal,I learned late.My soul perchedOn an olive branchCombing itself,Waving its plumes. I saidBeing mortal,I aspire toMortal things.I need you,Said my soul,If you’re telling the truth.Draft of a Letter is a book about belief—not belief in the unknowable but belief in what seems bewilderingly plain. Pondering the bodies we inhabit, the words we speak, these poems discover infinitude in the most familiar places. The revelation is disorienting and, as a result, these poems talk to themselves, revise themselves, fashioning a dialogue between self and soul that opens outward to include other voices, lovers, children, angels, and ghosts. For James Longenbach, great distance makes the messages we send sweeter. To be divided from ourselves is never to be alone. “If the kingdom is in the sky,” says the body to the soul, “Birds will get there before you.” “In time,” says the awakening soul, “I liked my second / Body better / Than the first.” To live, these poems insist, is to arise every day to the strange magnificence of the people and places we thought we knew best. Draft of a Letter is an unsettled and radiant paradiso, imagined in the death-shadowed, birth-haunted middle of a long life.Praise for Fleet River“A sensibility this cogent, this subtle and austere is rare; even rarer is its proof that poetry still flows through all things and transforms all things in the process.”—Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times Book Review...
|Title||:||Draft of a Letter|
|Number of Pages||:||64 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Draft of a Letter Reviews
James Longenbach was a visiting writer at GMU while I was reading this book in a class and when I completed the book, I was so mad at myself for missing his reading. I have since read this book three times. Each time I find something more in each line he has written. The depth of his poetry and the flow of his words are so capturing (for a lack of a better word). There is a philosophy of life hidden in each poem. I read Longenbach for the first time and I firmly believe that only he can make "The river whisper..." and only he can find the "Leaves" that have "a pattern of stars..." He is the first contemporary poet that I have read that I really enjoyed. He seems to have his own way of molding the language and making it into something so breath-takingly beautiful... and that is poetry!
Not sure what to say. I like his criticism and work on prosody a great deal. However, Longenbach's poetry seems to exist in too much obscurity. Perhaps I'm missing something, but one feels that giving a great deal more time and attention to the poems would not bring further clarity, but rather a deepened sense of frustration on the part of the reader.
Concise & meditative. The clear language and brief lines of each of these poems crackles w/tension and mystery. This is usually not my kind of poetry--I usually prefer the effusive/ecstatic, but this guy knows what he's doing.
I may be a bit biased because I've studied with both Logenbach and his wife, but I loved this collection. The poems are beautiful, thoughtful, rich, and provocative. I could easily read this volume over and over again.
Spare and precise, with simple surfaces obscurring complexities, demands attention and rewards multiple reads. A very solid collection...