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Americana

and Other Poems

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Description

John Updike's first collection of verse since his Collected Poems, 1953-1993 brings together fifty-eight poems, three of them of considerable length. The four sections take up, in order: America, its cities and airplanes; the poet's life, his childhood, birthdays, and ailments; foreign travel, to Europe and the tropics; and, beginning with the long "Song of Myself," daily life, its furniture and consolations. There is little of the light verse with which Mr. Updike began his writing career nearly fifty years ago, but a light touch can be felt in his nimble manipulation of the ghosts of metric order, in his caressing of the living textures of things, and in his reluctance to wave goodbye to it all.

From Publishers Weekly

May 14, 2001 – Anyone who could still call a poem "Two Cunts in Paris" and expect people to laugh or get a touch of frisson is either a novelist or completely out of touch—or both. Checking in with a collection of 60-odd lyrics from the period following his Collected Poems 1953–1993, Rabbit Angstrom creator, New Yorker mainstay poet-critic and American institution Updike delivers up wryly entertaining verse goods while paradoxically preoccupied with death and failure. "Death in Venice" watches two women try to resuscitate a dying man: "In the minute or two we watched, his face,/ seen upside down like some devil's, turned blue./ My wife thought they were doing it wrong,/ this pair slaving like whores at their client." The speaker of "Two of My Characters" laments "I wanted you to be beautiful, the both of you,/ and, here among real flowers, fear I failed." Yet he seems aware that such musings on others are evasive: "I have time/ at last to consider my life, this its stubby stale end—/ whither, and wherefore, and who says?/ But I fail to." Yet along with the anachronistic gender trouble and crabby melancholia, Updike gives readers a tour of the cities, art works and times of day he has known and loved—and a life, however imperfect, emerges, "cruel as it is beautiful and frail."
Americana
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  • $19.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Poetry
  • Published: May 15, 2001
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 112 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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