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Hammer Is the Prayer: Selected Poems

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A visionary selection from one of America's foremost poets One of the most distinctive voices in contemporary American poetry, Christian Wiman has forged a singular style that fuses a vivid and propulsive music with clear-eyed realism, wry humor, and visionary lament. In his "daring and urgent" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, My Bright Abyss, he asks, "What is poet A visionary selection from one of America's foremost poets One of the most distinctive voices in contemporary American poetry, Christian Wiman has forged a singular style that fuses a vivid and propulsive music with clear-eyed realism, wry humor, and visionary lament. In his "daring and urgent" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, My Bright Abyss, he asks, "What is poetry's role when the world is burning?" Hammer Is the Prayer: Selected Poems might be read as an answer to that question. From the taut forms of his first book to the darker, more jagged fluencies of his second, into the bold and pathbreaking poems of his last two collections, Hammer Is the Prayer bears the reckless, restless interrogations and the slashing lyric intensity that distinguish Wiman's verse. But it also reveals the dramatic and narrative abilities for which he has been widely praised--the junkyard man in "Five Houses Down" with his "wonder-cluttered porch" and "the eyesore opulence / of his five partial cars," or the tragicomic character in "Being Serious" who suffers "the world's idiocy / like a saint its pains." Hammer Is the Prayer brings together three decades of Wiman's acclaimed poetry. Selected by the author, these poems reveal the singular music and metaphysical urgency that have attracted so many readers to his work and firmly assert his place as one of the most essential poets of our time.


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A visionary selection from one of America's foremost poets One of the most distinctive voices in contemporary American poetry, Christian Wiman has forged a singular style that fuses a vivid and propulsive music with clear-eyed realism, wry humor, and visionary lament. In his "daring and urgent" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, My Bright Abyss, he asks, "What is poet A visionary selection from one of America's foremost poets One of the most distinctive voices in contemporary American poetry, Christian Wiman has forged a singular style that fuses a vivid and propulsive music with clear-eyed realism, wry humor, and visionary lament. In his "daring and urgent" (The New York Times Book Review) memoir, My Bright Abyss, he asks, "What is poetry's role when the world is burning?" Hammer Is the Prayer: Selected Poems might be read as an answer to that question. From the taut forms of his first book to the darker, more jagged fluencies of his second, into the bold and pathbreaking poems of his last two collections, Hammer Is the Prayer bears the reckless, restless interrogations and the slashing lyric intensity that distinguish Wiman's verse. But it also reveals the dramatic and narrative abilities for which he has been widely praised--the junkyard man in "Five Houses Down" with his "wonder-cluttered porch" and "the eyesore opulence / of his five partial cars," or the tragicomic character in "Being Serious" who suffers "the world's idiocy / like a saint its pains." Hammer Is the Prayer brings together three decades of Wiman's acclaimed poetry. Selected by the author, these poems reveal the singular music and metaphysical urgency that have attracted so many readers to his work and firmly assert his place as one of the most essential poets of our time.

30 review for Hammer Is the Prayer: Selected Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jitse

    Beautiful! Mysterious, at times haunting, at times filled with desire. Best comprehended when you first read My Bright Abyss. Not everything is autobiographical of course, but at times it definitely seems to be the case.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hailey Leithauser

    One of the very few books I give five stars to - Heartbreaking and beautifully crafted

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Not exactly 4 but much closer to 4 than 3 I really loved so many of these

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Won this book from Goodreads giveaways. Unfortunately, this is not a collection of hymns to Thor, as might be imagined from the title. But it is full of wistful grief-ridden nostalgia and powerful emotive imagery, which I am a sucker for. I enjoyed this book very much and will seek out other poetry from this writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Riveting. An absolute grace.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julian

    Quite enjoyed. Great introduction to the work of Wiman, covering various books including translations of Mandelstam. Subject matter: God, or lack thereof and various working class stigmata

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steven Roberts

    Wiman is great and this is a nice collection of his works, but I prefer to read poems in their original collections. There's something more cohesive that way. Wiman is great and this is a nice collection of his works, but I prefer to read poems in their original collections. There's something more cohesive that way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Klawitter

    My God my grief forgive my grief tamed in language to a fear that I can bear: Make of my anguish more than I can make. Lord, hear my prayer.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    5* for approximately the first half, 3* for the second half. So glad I found this!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ben Palpant

    "And I Was Alive" and "Every Riven a Thing" and "This Mind of Dying" are great (not simply good) poems. "And I Was Alive" and "Every Riven a Thing" and "This Mind of Dying" are great (not simply good) poems.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Not my cup of tea. I found it depressing flat and washed out. Just my personal reaction to the poems.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eliot

  13. 5 out of 5

    Prayerpilgrim

  14. 4 out of 5

    Josie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cornelio

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catharine

  17. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Johnson

  19. 4 out of 5

    adin thayer

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Josiah Peachey

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hudson Baird

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chris Crane

  25. 5 out of 5

    Denise Cote

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mara

  27. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bradley Steele

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