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Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus. Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces. Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation And invention, is this the image of the promised end? All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever. Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she a Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus. Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces. Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation And invention, is this the image of the promised end? All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever. Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she abandoned For love, O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah walla-woe. —from "Gulf Music" An improvised, even desperate music, yearning toward knowledge across a gulf, informs Robert Pinsky's first book of poetry since Jersey Rain (2000). On the large scale of war or the personal scale of family history, in the movements of people and cultures across oceans or between eras, these poems discover connections between things seemingly disparate. Gulf Music is perhaps the most ambitious, politically impassioned, and inventive book by this major American poet.


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Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus. Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces. Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation And invention, is this the image of the promised end? All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever. Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she a Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus. Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces. Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation And invention, is this the image of the promised end? All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever. Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she abandoned For love, O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah walla-woe. —from "Gulf Music" An improvised, even desperate music, yearning toward knowledge across a gulf, informs Robert Pinsky's first book of poetry since Jersey Rain (2000). On the large scale of war or the personal scale of family history, in the movements of people and cultures across oceans or between eras, these poems discover connections between things seemingly disparate. Gulf Music is perhaps the most ambitious, politically impassioned, and inventive book by this major American poet.

30 review for Gulf Music: Poems

  1. 5 out of 5

    Miroku Nemeth

    I cannot uniformly appreciate all of Pinsky’s poems, but some of them are very powerful and amply demonstrate his prowess as our former poet laureate. I will not go into the myriad problems and disconnections with modern poetry—the way it lingers in the academic ivory tower while the poetry of pop (or more hopefully, underground) music resonates with the masses, but it always bears consideration. I have not read much Pinsky since I was studying poetry in the 90’s, but I do remember a political e I cannot uniformly appreciate all of Pinsky’s poems, but some of them are very powerful and amply demonstrate his prowess as our former poet laureate. I will not go into the myriad problems and disconnections with modern poetry—the way it lingers in the academic ivory tower while the poetry of pop (or more hopefully, underground) music resonates with the masses, but it always bears consideration. I have not read much Pinsky since I was studying poetry in the 90’s, but I do remember a political edge on some of his poetry that I appreciated and that I see he has not lost. Here are my notes, excerpts, and random musings on the book: The poem “First Things to Hand” is amazing—section 2 “Books—is a powerful meditation on one of my most prized material possessions and the same, I think, for those who value and love words. Part 7, “Door” is interesting if you understand the allusions and wordplay. “Between the January vulva of birth And the January of death’s door There are so many to negotiate, Closed or flung open or ajar, valves Of attention….” January is an allusion to the two-faced god of beginnings and transitions, gates, doorways, doors, endings, and time, Janus, who the ancient Romans placed above or on their doors. This month was dedicated to him. “Beneath that rubble, Inscriptions: annals of Atrocities of the righteous.” From “The Dig.” “When I was quite young My miscomprehension was that ‘Concentration Camp’ Meant where the scorned were admonished to concentrate, Humiliated: forbidden to let the mind wander away. ‘Concentration’ seemed just the kind of punitive euphemism The adult world used to coerce, like the word ‘Citizenship’ On the report cards, graded along with disciplines like History, English, Mathematics. Citizenship was a field or Discipline in which for certain years I was awarded every Marking period a ‘D’ meaning Poor. Possibly my first political Emotion was wishing they would call it Conduct, or Deportment.” Robert Pinsky “Immature Song” Loved “Work Song”, “The Wave”, “Antique,” and his translation “From the Last Canto of Paradise.” “Antique” I drowned in the fire of having you, I burned In the river of not having you, we lived Together for hours in a house of a thousand rooms And we were parted for a thousand years. Ten minutes ago we raised our children who cover The earth and have forgotten that we existed. It was not maya, it was not a ladder to perfection, It was this cold sunlight falling on this warm earth. When I turned you went to Hell. When your ship Fled the battle I followed you and lost the world Without regret but with stormy recriminations. Someday far down that corridor of horror the future Someone who buys this picture of you for the frame At a stall in a dwindled city will study your face And decide to harbor it for a little while longer From the waters of anonymity, the acids of breath. There is an allusion to Eurydice after Orpheus looks to check that she is following him and thus painfully is separated by death from his beloved again even after he had ventured into the realm of the dead to recover her in “When I turned you went to Hell.” There is an allusion to Marcus Antonius following Cleopatra after the disastrous battle of Actium. Lovers, death, hope, pain, temporality, beauty…poetry and the vestiges of meaning. An interesting review: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/boo...

  2. 4 out of 5

    John Tessitore

    Pinsky ends this volume with a prose meditation on memory. He asks, "Where in the mess is a true reflection, a lasting truth?" As a historian of objects, of newspapers and books and pliers, of "things" as well as of culture ("Louie Louie," Steven Wright), of mess and always of words, Pinksy is a rare contemporary poet; he seeks "lasting truth" in the world around him, in bright memory as well as in dark memory. Even his confessions exist in history--which sets him apart. But never question his h Pinsky ends this volume with a prose meditation on memory. He asks, "Where in the mess is a true reflection, a lasting truth?" As a historian of objects, of newspapers and books and pliers, of "things" as well as of culture ("Louie Louie," Steven Wright), of mess and always of words, Pinksy is a rare contemporary poet; he seeks "lasting truth" in the world around him, in bright memory as well as in dark memory. Even his confessions exist in history--which sets him apart. But never question his heart. The final poem, a translation "From the Last Canto of Paradise," is a burst of beauty from a poet who always enjoys proving that he's still got the goods.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kyler Wegner

    Well, you don't become poet laureate by merely shitting yourself. Well, you don't become poet laureate by merely shitting yourself.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Phi Beta Kappa Authors

    Robert Pinsky ΦBK, Rutgers University, 1962 Author From the publisher: Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus. Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces. Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation And invention, is this the image of the promised end? All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever. Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she abandoned For love, O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah wa Robert Pinsky ΦBK, Rutgers University, 1962 Author From the publisher: Dollars, dolors. Callings and contrivances. King Zulu. Comus. Sephardic ju-ju and verses. Voodoo mojo, Special Forces. Henry formed a group named Professor Longhair and his Shuffling Hungarians. After so much renunciation And invention, is this the image of the promised end? All music haunted by all the music of the dead forever. Becky haunted forever by Pearl the daughter she abandoned For love, O try my tra-la-la, ma la belle, mah walla-woe. —from "Gulf Music" An improvised, even desperate music, yearning toward knowledge across a gulf, informs Robert Pinsky's first book of poetry since Jersey Rain (2000). On the large scale of war or the personal scale of family history, in the movements of people and cultures across oceans or between eras, these poems discover connections between things seemingly disparate. Gulf Music is perhaps the most ambitious, politically impassioned, and inventive book by this major American poet.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Norb Aikin

    Couldn't really get into it...maybe Pinsky's just not for me. The few I liked I really liked, but this was mostly meh and maybe over my head. The pacing and structure just felt awkward most of the time, and nothing grabbed me. Maybe in time I'll go back into some of his earlier work...but it won't be a priority. Couldn't really get into it...maybe Pinsky's just not for me. The few I liked I really liked, but this was mostly meh and maybe over my head. The pacing and structure just felt awkward most of the time, and nothing grabbed me. Maybe in time I'll go back into some of his earlier work...but it won't be a priority.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin Conlon

    This was well-written poetry, it just wasn't quite my style. There were a few poems right at the end, though, that were absolutely wonderful. I also really enjoyed the Author's Note at the back. Overall, enough to pique my interest in the writer. This was well-written poetry, it just wasn't quite my style. There were a few poems right at the end, though, that were absolutely wonderful. I also really enjoyed the Author's Note at the back. Overall, enough to pique my interest in the writer.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ann Michael

    Wow. Pinsky's poems are fascinating, multi-layered. Intellectually satisfying. And sometimes deeply moving, too--all at once. He's certainly a modern master of American poetry. Wow. Pinsky's poems are fascinating, multi-layered. Intellectually satisfying. And sometimes deeply moving, too--all at once. He's certainly a modern master of American poetry.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wood Duck

    Pinsky is brilliant. I left my copy in Kazakhstan with a good friend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Janée Baugher

    Masculine point-of-view in this eclectic collection. Themes run the gamut. Readers must decide how much musicality exists in each of these poems by acclaimed professor of poetry, Pinsky.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amps210

    This collection was not for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Antonia

    A good review would be longer than the book itself. This isn't a good one. It's scattered. My thoughts all run together. I really admire Pinsky and always like to read what he has to say about poetry. I've heard him speak a couple of times and he was wonderful. He's done more for American poetry than anyone I can think of. That said, I often have a hard time reading his poems. You can't be lazy. He requires a lot. Sometimes, I find myself thinking: He knows too much. I always feel that I'm missin A good review would be longer than the book itself. This isn't a good one. It's scattered. My thoughts all run together. I really admire Pinsky and always like to read what he has to say about poetry. I've heard him speak a couple of times and he was wonderful. He's done more for American poetry than anyone I can think of. That said, I often have a hard time reading his poems. You can't be lazy. He requires a lot. Sometimes, I find myself thinking: He knows too much. I always feel that I'm missing half the poem because I just don't get the references, the allusions -- and allusion is a big theme -- at least in Gulf Music. There are different Gulfs to consider: the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Mexico (even Golf at one point), but most of all, the myriad gulfs in our lives — between thought and language, between who we are and who we might become, or are becoming. There's so much here about how language works, how important it is to civic/civil discourse, and of course, to our survival as individuals, as a nation. Regarding missing references and allusions, I found this (in Pinsky's note at the end of the book) somewhat comforting: "The references and proper names in these poems do not intend that a reader rush to Google or an encyclopedia. "Sibby Sisti" and "numerus clausus" have meanings, but such phrases appear also for their quality of forgotten-ness, a quality that lives in varying, unstable relation to meaning." Whew. I get easily annoyed at writers who think readers should Google what they don't know. What happens at a reading? Hmmm? (I really enjoyed Pinsky's Note.) This isn't an easy book. I didn't like all of the poems, or not all of the equally. And the ones I liked best are probably the more accessible ones. I particularly liked "Poem With Lines in Any Order," which tells a story, or several stories, really, but interleaved here are the lines: "You can't live in the past," "Nobody can live in the future," and "There's no way to just live in the present." He's always got me thinking about the gulf between then and now, now and what comes after. The theme runs through the entire collection. As does the idea of the thing, thingness, the nature of things. As do memory and forgetting. I also liked "The Dig," and "In Defense of Allusion," and "If the Dead Come Back." And this little gem, the poem in its entirety: XYZ The cross the fork the zigzag — a few straight lines For pain, quandary and evasion, the last of signs.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Wise

    This a collection of about four dozen short poems published in 2007, which seem to have been written since his last published collection in 1998. I found none to be very memorable, though from nearly all I experienced some curiosity or enjoyment. Perhaps my expectations for this collection were too high, as I had just completed Pinsky's An Explanation of America (1997), by which I was very touched and impressed. There are many references to the events and public dialog of the early 2000s, especia This a collection of about four dozen short poems published in 2007, which seem to have been written since his last published collection in 1998. I found none to be very memorable, though from nearly all I experienced some curiosity or enjoyment. Perhaps my expectations for this collection were too high, as I had just completed Pinsky's An Explanation of America (1997), by which I was very touched and impressed. There are many references to the events and public dialog of the early 2000s, especially the events of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the ensuing public reactions to both. But these references are in most cases among references to similar, but far older events, as though suggesting an current over-reaction for lack of historical perspective, and indeed the act of forgetting is another subject that crops up numerous times in this collection. The book begins with "Poem of Disconnected Parts" - three pages of couplets, many of which I suspect were sparked by news items or quotes in the media. Some of these contained an ironic twist within the pair, while with others the irony was revealed by a later couplet, or even a subsequent poem. I found this poem to set well the tone for the rest of the collection. The collection is divided into three sections. In the first were poems more related to historical and current events. Those in the third seemed more related to human symbols and their use. The second section began with an interesting etymological study of the word "thing", followed by poems exploring descriptions of, and sentiments linked to some common things. The poet's "Note" at the end of the book was helpful in clarifying the basis or intent of some of the poems.

  13. 5 out of 5

    T.

    Surprisingly the thing I liked most is the Notes section at the end of the book. I enjoyed reading Robert Pinsky's thoughts on memory and meaning:"Forgetting is never perfect, just as recall is never total: the list or the person's name or the poem or the phone number may be recalled in every detail, but never with the exact feeling it had. And conversely the details may be obliterated, but a feeling lingers on. "...One doesn't need to be Freudian to understand that memory and forgetting are part Surprisingly the thing I liked most is the Notes section at the end of the book. I enjoyed reading Robert Pinsky's thoughts on memory and meaning:"Forgetting is never perfect, just as recall is never total: the list or the person's name or the poem or the phone number may be recalled in every detail, but never with the exact feeling it had. And conversely the details may be obliterated, but a feeling lingers on. "...One doesn't need to be Freudian to understand that memory and forgetting are partial, willful and involuntary, helpless and desperate, in mysterious measures. Forgetting is not mere absence. The repressed does not simply return, it transforms and abrogates, rising and plunging like a dolphin, or Proteus." For me, his poems in this collection refer to both the self and the nation as a body that remembers, that forgets. How one (maybe) consciously chooses to keep or to discard, depending on which is more painful, or easier, or perhaps which help fuel survival. I almost came close to grasping something profound—like how, in my own country, we talk and joke about our selective amnesia, if it's to our detriment or what actually keeps us enduring—but I feel this collection is too...vocal? Complicated? Dense? Either way, it may be my failing as a reader, and I suppose I will come back to this again in the future, when I will be more receptive. Lines I have underlined and loved: The stand-up master Steven Wright says he thinks he suffers from Both amnesia and deja vu: "I feel like I have forgotten this before." — from The Forgetting Still, dammit, Pinsky. I don't understand everything here and I don't know if I ever will.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I read this book at the same time as Robert Hass' "Time and Materials," so it was interesting to see how the two Roberts overlap--look for my Hass review soon! (as if I have an adoring public just salivating for my opinions) The work here in "Gulf Music" is concerned often with the "thinginess" of objects, as well as etymology and language. Many of the poems move by association--"Poem of Disconnected Parts," for example, consists of couplets that almost feel like ghazal couplets, in that the idea I read this book at the same time as Robert Hass' "Time and Materials," so it was interesting to see how the two Roberts overlap--look for my Hass review soon! (as if I have an adoring public just salivating for my opinions) The work here in "Gulf Music" is concerned often with the "thinginess" of objects, as well as etymology and language. Many of the poems move by association--"Poem of Disconnected Parts," for example, consists of couplets that almost feel like ghazal couplets, in that the ideas are related but not entirely. This poem announces its project in the title, but others in the book move similarly. This movement by association, however, almost always makes sense, as opposed to much contemporary poetry which doesn't seem to cohere in the end. There's a "central consciousness" at work behind each poem, an overall motive. Pinsky's also concerned with the notion of "forgetting," as he informs us in the afterword, and indeed, some of the poems focus on what Carolyn Forche would call "the poetry of witness." Although I doubt Pinsky's been to Guantanamo to see the conditions there, he "witnesses" as an American citizen in a few of the poems, analyzing the implications of speech in this post-Sept. 11 climate. "The Anniversary" is pretty good, but I prefer "Newspaper" with its use of the associative movement described above. A few of the poems at the end of the book address love, but the overall focus of this book seems to be meditative thought rather than the celebration of the body Hass enacts. Pinsky's skill as a critic, translator, and poet make him a worthy prominent figure in our literary culture today.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hideki

    Funny how some reviewers here felt Pinsky was 'too smart' for them. What the heck? I doubt this guy refurbishes Russian rockets and sends them to Mars. He's no Elon Musk. Sure, Pinsky has experiences and is well-read, but, that doesn't make him 'too smart', not for anyone. When he writes poetry from those experiences, he excludes (wide) audiences that have not had - or don't care for - those experiences. That's all. So, for those of you who felt/feel Pinsky is 'too smart' for you: don't beat you Funny how some reviewers here felt Pinsky was 'too smart' for them. What the heck? I doubt this guy refurbishes Russian rockets and sends them to Mars. He's no Elon Musk. Sure, Pinsky has experiences and is well-read, but, that doesn't make him 'too smart', not for anyone. When he writes poetry from those experiences, he excludes (wide) audiences that have not had - or don't care for - those experiences. That's all. So, for those of you who felt/feel Pinsky is 'too smart' for you: don't beat yourself up - Pinsky is just a dude; well-read, with life experiences to draw from, but just a dude. That said, I like Pinsky's poetry. His voice is consistent, developed. His poetry exudes a confidence and self-assuredness that comes with writing poetry for many years. I don't think his voice is singular, but, there's something comforting about it. One poem I particularly liked in this collection was "The Forgetting". There were more standouts, but "The Forgetting" is probably my personal favorite from this offering.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    I had been meaning to read some amount of Pinsky (instead of just a poem here and there) for a while now, but I don't think I should have started with this one. Pinsky is a very technical poet, and he's very good at the nuts and bolts, but some of the poems, while excellent pieces of writing, failed completely to move or resonate with me at all. A few are great, but most of them I did not care for or even actively disliked. The titular work, for example, was a poem that while it stands as an ext I had been meaning to read some amount of Pinsky (instead of just a poem here and there) for a while now, but I don't think I should have started with this one. Pinsky is a very technical poet, and he's very good at the nuts and bolts, but some of the poems, while excellent pieces of writing, failed completely to move or resonate with me at all. A few are great, but most of them I did not care for or even actively disliked. The titular work, for example, was a poem that while it stands as an extremely well-written poem, I hated. It relies too much on grammatical and poetic tools to be appreciated by anyone who does not share Pinsky's background of study. An engine can been seen as beautiful by more people than just mechanics, but blueprints are a bit harder to appreciate without the an engineering degree. The reason, though, that I gave this book three stars instead of two is the poem "Antique". It's wonderful.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christina Rau

    Robert Pinsky is too smart for me. Gulf Music intertwines myth with modern day in the same poems and includes scatting of music notes that represent some sort of music I’m either not familiar with or that he has a difficult time translating in a soundless book. I read the Note at the end first, and that became my favorite part because it is a license to read the poems without understanding them, which is really what I did. I can enjoy the sound of poetry. I did very much enjoy the focus on defin Robert Pinsky is too smart for me. Gulf Music intertwines myth with modern day in the same poems and includes scatting of music notes that represent some sort of music I’m either not familiar with or that he has a difficult time translating in a soundless book. I read the Note at the end first, and that became my favorite part because it is a license to read the poems without understanding them, which is really what I did. I can enjoy the sound of poetry. I did very much enjoy the focus on definitions; I’m a fan of word and language play. The sticky wicket is when the cleverness of language play coincides with allusions I don’t know or don’t remember plus cultures and history that I never really think about. It’s a lot to take in. So the star-rating reflects my own confusion rather than the unquestionable talent within the pages.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kasandra

    As some others have said, Pinsky is just too smart for me. His poetry is clearly erudite, wide-ranging, and makes connections between the old and the new, both in world history and personal history, but only a handful of these poems really spoke to me. I enjoyed his end notes more than the poems themselves, for the most part, though I really appreciated Keyboard, Akhmatova's 'Summer Garden', Jar of Pens, Other Hand, The Dig, and XYZ. I like his shorter pieces better, perhaps because his longer o As some others have said, Pinsky is just too smart for me. His poetry is clearly erudite, wide-ranging, and makes connections between the old and the new, both in world history and personal history, but only a handful of these poems really spoke to me. I enjoyed his end notes more than the poems themselves, for the most part, though I really appreciated Keyboard, Akhmatova's 'Summer Garden', Jar of Pens, Other Hand, The Dig, and XYZ. I like his shorter pieces better, perhaps because his longer ones include so many allusions that it feels like you have to get out a stack of history books to keep up with his range of thought. This is a book of poetry that will make you work. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it skips around so widely, even within individual poems, that I was exhausted by the time I finished.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    "The world is allusive." This could also be said of Robert Pinsky's poetry (as allusion or "net of being"). His poems are allusive things. This latest poetic effort and endeavor (Gulf Music) is all-allusive and civic-minded as usual (if not unapologetic). Classical and contemporary. Daring to be disparate, desperate for missing connections, edges, transitions. Engulfed by, engulfed in worldly affairs, atrocities, lyrics, music, poems, things, and translation. Pervasively political if not occasio "The world is allusive." This could also be said of Robert Pinsky's poetry (as allusion or "net of being"). His poems are allusive things. This latest poetic effort and endeavor (Gulf Music) is all-allusive and civic-minded as usual (if not unapologetic). Classical and contemporary. Daring to be disparate, desperate for missing connections, edges, transitions. Engulfed by, engulfed in worldly affairs, atrocities, lyrics, music, poems, things, and translation. Pervasively political if not occasionally and offhandedly personal. These things can be both pathetic and pernicious as potentates/powers and poems/poets that allude to Pinsky's particulars as well as universals (such as "the wave" of love and Dante's paradise).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Wow. How can my words even begin to do justice to the force of Pinsky's? My clumsy attempt: his creative, tangible imagery, his practiced but seemingly effortless use of rhyme (when he uses it), the raw and innovative subject material, from prisoners in Guantanamo to his left hand, all are to be greatly admired. I was not surprised that he is hailed as a major American poet, as I found myself re-reading entire stanzas, entire poems, as if hungering for that which his poems conveyed. Several of my Wow. How can my words even begin to do justice to the force of Pinsky's? My clumsy attempt: his creative, tangible imagery, his practiced but seemingly effortless use of rhyme (when he uses it), the raw and innovative subject material, from prisoners in Guantanamo to his left hand, all are to be greatly admired. I was not surprised that he is hailed as a major American poet, as I found myself re-reading entire stanzas, entire poems, as if hungering for that which his poems conveyed. Several of my favorites include "2. Book," "Keyboard," "Rhyme," and "Banknote." After walking away from my first encounter with Pinsky's work, unable to resist frequently circling and underlining his diction, allusions, and words of imagery, I felt that this man somehow redefined poetry for me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    unnarrator

    I'm always surprised not to hate poetry by Pinsky...some of these really having something going for them, though. He'll create these elaborate pastiche mosaics, all interlocking and fascinating (if a bit too tidy)—and then suddenly they get interrupted by his voice/tone, which really just does not do it for me. It's still a solid three stars, because I like some of the lines, but I wish he'd pull out the stops sometimes, get messier, be more (yes, I'm going to say it) Jewy and less goy. I'll giv I'm always surprised not to hate poetry by Pinsky...some of these really having something going for them, though. He'll create these elaborate pastiche mosaics, all interlocking and fascinating (if a bit too tidy)—and then suddenly they get interrupted by his voice/tone, which really just does not do it for me. It's still a solid three stars, because I like some of the lines, but I wish he'd pull out the stops sometimes, get messier, be more (yes, I'm going to say it) Jewy and less goy. I'll give him points for, if nothing else, the super-short poem "XYZ," here in its entireity: The cross the fork the zigzag—a few straight lines For pain, quandary and evasion, the last of signs.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mendi

    Even if Robert Pinsky should never give me anything else, I will always hold him in high regard for a provisional answer to a question I've been holding for some time. Did he know what he was doing when he wrote his "Poem of Disconnected Parts"? When I first read the poem in _Poetry_ the words "Culture the lock, culture the key" opened up a path for my own work, the fruits of which remain to be seen. So I gobbled up _Gulf Music_ in search of more of the same. I remember liking the book, but noth Even if Robert Pinsky should never give me anything else, I will always hold him in high regard for a provisional answer to a question I've been holding for some time. Did he know what he was doing when he wrote his "Poem of Disconnected Parts"? When I first read the poem in _Poetry_ the words "Culture the lock, culture the key" opened up a path for my own work, the fruits of which remain to be seen. So I gobbled up _Gulf Music_ in search of more of the same. I remember liking the book, but nothing else stays with me like that one poem.

  23. 5 out of 5

    James

    This was a challenge. Love the "Thing" poems. Love "The Forgetting" and "Louie Louie." Love "Rhyme," "Immature Song," his Dante translation. Most of the book, actually, except for some in the first section. I'm thinking of using "Poem with Lines in Any Order" in one of my poetry classes. Have the students rearrange the lines. His note at the end is brilliant in its own right: "Forgetting is not mere absence. The repressed does not simply return, it transforms and abrogates, rising and plunging lik This was a challenge. Love the "Thing" poems. Love "The Forgetting" and "Louie Louie." Love "Rhyme," "Immature Song," his Dante translation. Most of the book, actually, except for some in the first section. I'm thinking of using "Poem with Lines in Any Order" in one of my poetry classes. Have the students rearrange the lines. His note at the end is brilliant in its own right: "Forgetting is not mere absence. The repressed does not simply return, it transforms and abrogates, rising and plunging like a dolphin, or Proteus." I would very much like to have sex with Robert Pinsky.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Calvin

    It's been a while since I've come across a poet who Ive enjoyed as much on first reading as I have Pinsky. There are times I think he overreaches in showing off a pretty substantial vocabulary-but overall a great use of language. Makes me wonder how I've managed to miss him, as he has been writing poetry since 1975. Plus the man has guest starred on the Simpsons, something most poets havent done. It's been a while since I've come across a poet who Ive enjoyed as much on first reading as I have Pinsky. There are times I think he overreaches in showing off a pretty substantial vocabulary-but overall a great use of language. Makes me wonder how I've managed to miss him, as he has been writing poetry since 1975. Plus the man has guest starred on the Simpsons, something most poets havent done.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    from Antique I drowned in the fire of having you, I burned In the river of not having you, we lived Together for hours in a house of a thousand rooms And we were parted for a thousand years. Ten minutes ago we raised our children who cover The earth and have forgotten that we existed. It was not maya, it was not a ladder to perfection, It was this cold sunlight falling on this warm earth.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Donald Armfield

    Robert Pinsky is a beast. And I mean that as great if we are speaking ebonics. This is one of my favorite books, it would be easier for me to say I didn't care for a certain poem in this book, but still found it interesting ★Overall Favorites★ -The Thicket -The Forgetting -If the Dead Came Back -Eurydice and Stalin -Book -El Burro Es un Animal Robert Pinsky is a beast. And I mean that as great if we are speaking ebonics. This is one of my favorite books, it would be easier for me to say I didn't care for a certain poem in this book, but still found it interesting ★Overall Favorites★ -The Thicket -The Forgetting -If the Dead Came Back -Eurydice and Stalin -Book -El Burro Es un Animal

  27. 5 out of 5

    M- S__

    There were some missteps and some nonsense scattered in this collection, but I generally felt excited throughout the reading. This is my first book length exposure to Pinsky, and I have gathered from the comments here it might not have been the best start. If that's the case I'm really looking forward to the next reads. There were some missteps and some nonsense scattered in this collection, but I generally felt excited throughout the reading. This is my first book length exposure to Pinsky, and I have gathered from the comments here it might not have been the best start. If that's the case I'm really looking forward to the next reads.

  28. 5 out of 5

    h

    pinsky does some astonishing, beautiful things in this collection. i feel that i need to own this one, read it and read it and read it. some poems i definitely liked more than others, but there wasn't one that i found flat. pinsky does some astonishing, beautiful things in this collection. i feel that i need to own this one, read it and read it and read it. some poems i definitely liked more than others, but there wasn't one that i found flat.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    It wasn't my favorite collection by Pinsky. It had a bit of an edge and he was very political. I still go back to previous collection, "The Want Bone" and "Jersey Rain,"however I'm not sure I would reread this one. It wasn't my favorite collection by Pinsky. It had a bit of an edge and he was very political. I still go back to previous collection, "The Want Bone" and "Jersey Rain,"however I'm not sure I would reread this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Poets.org from the Academy of American Poets

    Prepare for the 2010 Poets Forum in New York City (October 28-30) by reading Pinsky's newest book of poetry, and check out the Poets Forum 2010 bookshelf for the latest collections by each of the poets participating in the Poets Forum. Happy reading! Prepare for the 2010 Poets Forum in New York City (October 28-30) by reading Pinsky's newest book of poetry, and check out the Poets Forum 2010 bookshelf for the latest collections by each of the poets participating in the Poets Forum. Happy reading!

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