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Books By Robert Bly
In this timeless and deeply learned classic, poet and translator Robert Bly offers nothing less than a new vision of what it means to be a man.
Bly's vision is based on his ongoing work with men, as well as on reflections on his own life. He addresses the devastating effects of remote fathers and mourns the disappearance of male initiation rites in our culture. Finding rich meaning in ancient stories and legends, Bly uses the Grimm fairy tale "Iron John"-in which a mentor or "Wild Man" guides a young man through eight stages of male growth-to remind us of ways of knowing long forgotten, images of deep and vigorous masculinity centered in feeling and protective of the young.
At once down-to-earth and elevated, combining the grandeur of myth with the practical and often painful lessons of our own histories, Iron John is an astonishing work that will continue to guide and inspire men-and women-for years to come.
By making every reader consider anew their religious thinking, the poems of Kabir seem as relevant today as when they were first written.
The song of the flute, O sister, is madness.
I thought that nothing that was not God could hold me,
But hearing that sound, I lose mind and body,
My heart wholly caught in the net.
O flute, what were your vows, what is your practice?
What power sits by your side?
Even Mira’s Lord is trapped in your seven notes.
"Bly's imaginative prose poems radiate witty delight." — Library Journal
A brilliant collection spanning half a century, from one of America's most powerful poets.
Robert Bly had many roles in his illustrious career. He was a chronicler and mentor of young poets, was a leader of the antiwar movement, founded the men's movement, and wrote the bestselling book Iron John, which brought the men's movement to the attention of the world. Throughout these activities, Bly continued to deepen his own poetry, a vigorous voice in a period of more academic wordsmiths. Here he has presented his favorite poems of the last decades-timeless classics from Silence in the Snowy Fields, The Man in the Black Coat Turns, and Loving a Woman in Two Worlds. A complete section of marvelous new poems rounds out this collection, which offers a chance to reread, in a fresh setting, a lifetime of work dedicated to fresh perspectives.
"Morning Poems is a sensational collection — Robert Bly's best in many years. Inspired by the example of William Stafford, Bly decided to embark on the project of writing a daily poem: Every morning he would stay in bed until he had completed the day's work. These 'little adventures/In Morning longing,' as he calls them, address classic poetic subjects (childhood, the seasons, death and heaven) in a way that capitalizes fully on the pun in the book's title. These are morning poems, full of the delight and mystery of waking in a new day, and they also do their share of mourning, elegizing the deceases and capturing the 'moment of sorror before creation.' Some of the poems are dialogues where unconventional speakers include mice, maple trees, bundles of grain, the body, the 'oldest mind' and the soul. A particularly moving sequence involves Bly's imaginative transactions with a great and unlikely precursor, Wallace Stevens. The whole is a fascinating and original book from one of our most fascinating authors."
— David Lehman
Robert Bly, renowned poet and author of the ground-breaking bestseller Iron John, mingles essay and verse to explore the Shadow -- the dark side of the human personality -- and the importance of confronting it.
Gathering more than sixty years of poetry, Collected Poems showcases the brilliant career of a "great American transcendentalist" (New York Times).
An extraordinary culmination for Robert Bly’s lifelong intellectual adventure, Collected Poems presents the full magnitude of his body of work for the first time. Bly has long been the voice of transcendentalism and meditative mysticism for his generation; every stage of his work is warmed by his devotion to the art of poetry and his affection for the varied worlds that inspire him. Influenced by Emerson and Thoreau alongside spiritual traditions from Sufism to Gnosticism, he is a poet moved by mysteries, speaking the language of images. Collected Poems gathers the fourteen volumes of his impressive oeuvre into one place, including his imagistic debut, Silence in the Snowy Fields (1962); the clear-eyed truth-telling of his National Book Award–winning collection, The Light Around the Body (1967); the masterful prose poems of The Morning Glory (1975); and the fiercely introspective, uniquely American ghazals of his latest collection, Talking into the Ear of a Donkey (2011).
A monumental poetic achievement, Collected Poems makes clear why poets and lovers of poetry have long looked to Robert Bly for emotional authenticity, moral authority, and artistic inspiration.
National Book Award-winning poet and author of the internationally best-selling Iron John, Robert Bly revisits a selection of fairy tales and examines how these enduring narratives capture the essence of human nature.
Few forms of storytelling have greater power to captivate the human mind than fairy tales, but where do these tales originate from, and what do they mean? Celebrated poet and bestselling author Robert Bly has been asking these questions throughout his career. Here Bly looks at six tales that have stood the test of time and have captivated the poet for decades, from “The Six Swans” to “The Frog Prince.” Drawing on his own creative genius, and the work of a range of thinkers from Kirkegaard and Yeats to Freud and Jung, Bly turns these stories over in his mind to bring new meaning and illumination to these timeless tales.
Along with illustrations of each story, the book features some of Bly's unpublished poetry, which peppers his lyric prose and offers a look inside the mind of an American master of letters in the twilight of his singular career.
“[Robert Bly] is . . . the most recent in a line of great American transcendentalist writers.”—New York Times
Selected from throughout Robert Bly’s monumental body of work from 1950 through the present, Stealing Sugar from the Castle represents the culmination of an astonishing career in American letters.
Bly has long been the voice of transcendentalism and meditative mysticism for his generation. Influenced by Emerson and Thoreau, inspired by spiritual traditions from Sufism to Gnosticism, his vision is “oracular” (Antioch Review). From the rich, earthy simplicity of Silence in the Snowy Fields (1962) to the wild yet intricately formal ghazals of My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy (2005) and the striking richness and authority of Talking into the Ear of a Donkey (2011), Bly’s poetry is spiritual yet worldly, celebrating the uncanny beauty of the everyday. “I am happy, / The moon rising above the turkey sheds. // The small world of the car / Plunges through the deep fields of the night,” he writes in “Driving Toward the Lac Qui Parle River.” Here is a poet moved by the mysteries of the world around him, speaking the language of images in a voice brilliant and bold.
Robert Bly had always been amazingly prescient in his choice of poets to translate. The poetry he chose supplied qualities that were lacking from the literary culture of this country. For the first time Robert Bly’s brilliant translations, from several languages, have been brought together in one book. Here, in The Winged Energy of Delight, the poems of twenty-two poets, some renowned, others lesser known, are brought together.
At a time when editors and readers knew only Eliot and Pound, Robert Bly introduced the earthy wildness of Pablo Neruda and Cesar Vallejo and the sober grief of Trakl, as well as the elegance of Jiménez and Tranströmer. He also published high-spirited versions of Kabir and Rumi, and Mirabai, which had considerable influence on the wide culture of the 1970s and 1980s. Bly’s clear translations of Rilke attracted many new readers to the poet, and his versions of Machado have become models of silence and depth. He continues to bring fresh and amazing poets into English, most recently Rolf Jacobsen, Miguel Hernandez, Francis Ponge, and the ninteenth-century Indian poet Ghalib. As Kenneth Rexroth has said, Robert Bly “is one of the leaders of a poetic revival which has returned American literature to the world community.”
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