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In "Structures of Rime," the open series begun in The Opening of the Field and continued in this volume, Duncan works with ideas, forces, and persons created in language itself––the life and identity of the poet in the poem. With the first thirty poems of "Passages," which form the structural base in Bending the Bow, he has begun a second open series––a multiphasic project In "Structures of Rime," the open series begun in The Opening of the Field and continued in this volume, Duncan works with ideas, forces, and persons created in language itself––the life and identity of the poet in the poem. With the first thirty poems of "Passages," which form the structural base in Bending the Bow, he has begun a second open series––a multiphasic projection of movements in a field, an imagined universe of the poem that moves out to include all the terms of experience as meaning. Here Duncan draws upon and in turn contributes to a mode in American poetry where Pound’s Cantos, Williams’s Paterson, Zukofsky’s “A,” and Olson’s Maximus Poems have led the way. The chronological composition of Bending the Bow emphasizes Duncan’s belief that the significance of form is that of an event in process. Thus, the poems of the two open series belong ultimately to the configuration of a life in poetry in which there are forms moving within and interpenetrating forms. Versions of Verlaine’s Saint Graal and Parsifal and a translation of Gérard de Nerval’s Les Chimeres enter the picture; narrative bridges for the play Adam’s Way have their place in the process; and three major individual poems––"My Mother Would Be a Falconress," "A Shrine to Ameinias," and "Epilogos"––among others make for an interplay of frames of reference and meaning in which even such resounding blasts of outrage at the War in Vietnam as "Up Rising" and "The Soldiers" are not for the poet things in themselves but happenings in a poetry that involve all other parts of his experience.


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In "Structures of Rime," the open series begun in The Opening of the Field and continued in this volume, Duncan works with ideas, forces, and persons created in language itself––the life and identity of the poet in the poem. With the first thirty poems of "Passages," which form the structural base in Bending the Bow, he has begun a second open series––a multiphasic project In "Structures of Rime," the open series begun in The Opening of the Field and continued in this volume, Duncan works with ideas, forces, and persons created in language itself––the life and identity of the poet in the poem. With the first thirty poems of "Passages," which form the structural base in Bending the Bow, he has begun a second open series––a multiphasic projection of movements in a field, an imagined universe of the poem that moves out to include all the terms of experience as meaning. Here Duncan draws upon and in turn contributes to a mode in American poetry where Pound’s Cantos, Williams’s Paterson, Zukofsky’s “A,” and Olson’s Maximus Poems have led the way. The chronological composition of Bending the Bow emphasizes Duncan’s belief that the significance of form is that of an event in process. Thus, the poems of the two open series belong ultimately to the configuration of a life in poetry in which there are forms moving within and interpenetrating forms. Versions of Verlaine’s Saint Graal and Parsifal and a translation of Gérard de Nerval’s Les Chimeres enter the picture; narrative bridges for the play Adam’s Way have their place in the process; and three major individual poems––"My Mother Would Be a Falconress," "A Shrine to Ameinias," and "Epilogos"––among others make for an interplay of frames of reference and meaning in which even such resounding blasts of outrage at the War in Vietnam as "Up Rising" and "The Soldiers" are not for the poet things in themselves but happenings in a poetry that involve all other parts of his experience.

30 review for Bending the Bow: Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    It is as if I were moving towards the wastes of water all living things remember the world to be, the law of me going under the wave. Doubt was rather high. My approach to this collection was almost reluctant. Timid. There were early aspects I found to be inscrutable. Poundian cryptograms. Words carefree on foreboding space. I feared my limitations, not the impossible---though the sum of which hardly differs, no? Then I found sections on grieving, Palpable human loss, the mad work to construct t It is as if I were moving towards the wastes of water all living things remember the world to be, the law of me going under the wave. Doubt was rather high. My approach to this collection was almost reluctant. Timid. There were early aspects I found to be inscrutable. Poundian cryptograms. Words carefree on foreboding space. I feared my limitations, not the impossible---though the sum of which hardly differs, no? Then I found sections on grieving, Palpable human loss, the mad work to construct to satisfy, to allow matters to linger. Then there was the outrage: Vietnam. From the height of the endless towerwhere Ecstasy carried me: I have gazed at the cold and sad world, black and agitated. . . The structure of this verse is pretty amazing, even to a roustabout layman like myself: a Beckett in greasy overalls.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mat

    This is a great little book of poetry from Robert Duncan. My advice though is to skip the introduction. Duncan's prose is thick, dense at best and I had no idea what he was trying to convey through the introduction. However, I soon forgot about it as I was immediately lost in a poetic wonderland. Drawing on styles of his various heroes and contemporaries - Pound, Williams, Stein, Olson and even Joyce, Duncan weaves together a very powerful collection of modern lyrical poetry. Many of the poems f This is a great little book of poetry from Robert Duncan. My advice though is to skip the introduction. Duncan's prose is thick, dense at best and I had no idea what he was trying to convey through the introduction. However, I soon forgot about it as I was immediately lost in a poetic wonderland. Drawing on styles of his various heroes and contemporaries - Pound, Williams, Stein, Olson and even Joyce, Duncan weaves together a very powerful collection of modern lyrical poetry. Many of the poems focus on the human and ecological destruction that was currently taking place in Vietnam at the time and therefore this is a very political book in a sense. Duncan even mentions, in poetical form, a scary experience when he was part of an-Vietnam rally/demo and the police managed to break some of them up rather violently. This is one of the great roles of a poet in society I believe - to challenge the system or expose it when it is unfair or downright tyrannical. I really loved his translations of French poetry too. I think it was Gerard de Nerval (?) Some of them were simple but marvellous. Duncan is one of my favourite poets. While I prefer the 1971 hardback UK version of Bending the Bow, aesthetically that is, to this one, this is a great near-pocket-size version of a poetry classic. Make no mistake - Duncan is one of the most important poets of the latter half of the 20th Century, right up there with Olson, Ginsberg, Creeley, Dorn, Corso, McClure, Wieners, Auden, Jack Spicer, Robin Blaser and many others. If you like traditional lyrical poetry but set in modern times, then this is for you. Not quite as good as his phenomenal and timeless The Opening of the Field, this is nevertheless a very strong collection of poems that warrants your attention.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Duncan's adoptive mother, Minnehaha Symmes, died in December 1960. In December 1955, Duncan had drafted "Often I Am Permitted to Return To A Meadow," and between 1956 and October 1967, Duncan went through an extraordinarily fertile period, unmatched in American writing of this time, as far as I'm aware, aided by the income provided for in his mother's will, and from the uptick in art market interest in the paintings of his life-partner, Jess Collins. Duncan produced eleven books during this peri Duncan's adoptive mother, Minnehaha Symmes, died in December 1960. In December 1955, Duncan had drafted "Often I Am Permitted to Return To A Meadow," and between 1956 and October 1967, Duncan went through an extraordinarily fertile period, unmatched in American writing of this time, as far as I'm aware, aided by the income provided for in his mother's will, and from the uptick in art market interest in the paintings of his life-partner, Jess Collins. Duncan produced eleven books during this period of 11 years, five of which I would call great: The Opening of the Field (1960), Roots and Branches (1964), and Bending the Bow (1968) -- all date from the period, as do two prose works, The Truth and Life of Myth (1968) and The H.D. Book, the writing of which was completed by The Pentagon March, and which is due to appear finally in book form at the fifty year anniversary of his mother's death, December 13, 2010. Moreover, in the middle of Bending the Bow Duncan got stuck. He reports in a July 13, 1966 letter to Denise Levertov that he has just managed to complete a draft Passages 26, "The Soldiers," and adds that other than a Christmas 1965 occasional poem, "Earth's Winter Song," some narrative transitions for his play Adam's Way, (in Roots and Branches), and the beginning of the poem "A Shrine to Ameinias," "The Soldiers" is the first poem he's completed in a year. Now, I should add that during this year, he oversaw the publication of his collaboration with Jess, A Book of Resemblances, another small press book, from Perishable Press in Wisconsin, Six Prose Pieces, his Black Mountain play, Medea at Kolchis, and his collected early poems, from Oyez, The Years As Catches. These, as well as the two-volume English edition of his collected poems, could be added to the five books mentioned above. Still, the year of blocked work on Bending the Bow is remarkable, and Duncan seemed to think it was brought on by high blood pressure medication he'd been put on, which he perilously experimented with going on and off; much to his friend Levertov's alarm.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fenixbird SandS

    This is lovely enough for a wedding announcement!! SOME FAVORITE POETRY SELECTIONS! Excerpt from Bending the Bow by Robert Duncan “. . . I'd been in the course of a letter – I am still in the course of a letter – to a friend, who comes close in to my thought so that the day is hers. My hand writing here there shakes in the currents of... of air? of an inner anticipation of...? reaching to touch ghostly exhilarations in the thought of her. At the extremity of this design "there is a connexion wor This is lovely enough for a wedding announcement!! SOME FAVORITE POETRY SELECTIONS! Excerpt from Bending the Bow by Robert Duncan “. . . I'd been in the course of a letter – I am still in the course of a letter – to a friend, who comes close in to my thought so that the day is hers. My hand writing here there shakes in the currents of... of air? of an inner anticipation of...? reaching to touch ghostly exhilarations in the thought of her. At the extremity of this design "there is a connexion working in both directions, as in the bow and the lyre"– only in that swift fulfillment of the wish that sleep can illustrate my hand sweeps the string. You stand behind the where-I-am. The deep tones and shadows I will call a woman. The quick high notes... You are a girl there too, having something of sister and of wife, inconsolate, and I would play Orpheus for you again, recall the arrow or song to the trembling daylight from which it sprang. . . “

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    Duncan is the poet for feeling a poem in spirit, like when you first sit down to write a poem and you can just tell that first draft is more beautiful than anything. Duncan is more beautiful than anything. And with this book, the introductory essay, that dictates his own rhetorical framework for defining a poem, or his poem, in front of an audience, with an audience being an army ready to assault it, I say, "Duncan is beautiful!" Duncan is the poet for feeling a poem in spirit, like when you first sit down to write a poem and you can just tell that first draft is more beautiful than anything. Duncan is more beautiful than anything. And with this book, the introductory essay, that dictates his own rhetorical framework for defining a poem, or his poem, in front of an audience, with an audience being an army ready to assault it, I say, "Duncan is beautiful!"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Logan

    This got 4 stars because I don't think it's as good as THE OPENING OF THE FIELD. Maybe it was just a tad too long? I don't know. I felt a little lost at times. But Duncan kicks ass. FOUR STARS!!! This got 4 stars because I don't think it's as good as THE OPENING OF THE FIELD. Maybe it was just a tad too long? I don't know. I felt a little lost at times. But Duncan kicks ass. FOUR STARS!!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Some good poems in here.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David Jackson

    I've read Bending the Bow before but wanted to revisit after Sherman's Lost America of Love. Duncan is an incredible writer and this book ranges across myth, history, war, love, queerness, free speech, and the idea of America. Duncan's opposition to war and his comments on America's suspicions of others, community, and foundation on genocide and racism are sadly still relevant. I've read Bending the Bow before but wanted to revisit after Sherman's Lost America of Love. Duncan is an incredible writer and this book ranges across myth, history, war, love, queerness, free speech, and the idea of America. Duncan's opposition to war and his comments on America's suspicions of others, community, and foundation on genocide and racism are sadly still relevant.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura Mccullough

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  11. 5 out of 5

    Derek

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Aylsworth

  13. 4 out of 5

    Matthew M.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  16. 5 out of 5

    Paul Klinger

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisajean

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judith

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leo

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

  21. 4 out of 5

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  22. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Roslyn K

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gerald Jr.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Irena

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Ervin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  29. 5 out of 5

    Louis Bardales

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

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