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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 2003-10-21
  • Publisher: Knopf
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


From the award-winning author ofThe Bird Catcher, this life-spanning volume offers the delight of both discovery and re-discovery, as Ponsot tends the unruly garden of her mind with her customary care and passion. The book opens with a group of new poems, including "What Would You Like to Be When You Grow Up?"a question that has kept Ponsot's work vital for more than five decades. Throughout the selections from her four earlier books and a trove of previously unpublished work covering the years 1946 to 1971, she offers us a "lost haven in a springing world." Sometimes sharp in her self-perception, but always listing toward pleasure and elegance, unafraid of grief and the passage of time, Ponsot continually refreshes her language and the spirited self from which it emerges. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

Marie Ponsot’s first book of poems was<i> True Minds</i> (1956); later books are <i>Admit Impediment</i> (1981) and <i>The Green Dark</i> (1988). She is a native New Yorker who has enjoyed teaching at Queens College, Beijing United University, the Poetry Center of the YMHA, New York University, and Columbia University. Among her awards are an NEA Creative Writing grant, the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Prize, and the Shaughnessy Medal of the Modern Language Association. Ponsot’s most recent collection, <i>The Bird Catcher</i>, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in 1998.<br><br><br><i>From the Hardcover edition.</i>

Table of Contents

Old Jokes Appreciatep. 3
Drunk and Disorderly, Big Hairp. 4
Originp. 6
What Would You Like to Be When You Grow Up?p. 8
Now Thenp. 11
Decorum, Reflectionp. 12
Ghosts of Narrativep. 13
Metaphysicsp. 16
Quick It Canp. 18
Rods and Cones, and The Statute of Limitationsp. 20
What Changesp. 22
End of Octoberp. 25
Entrancedp. 27
Real Estate: Kripplebush, New Yorkp. 29
Crude Cabin, At the Brink of Quietp. 30
Out of Waterp. 32
Pathetic Fallacies Are Bad Science Butp. 33
Antepenultimatep. 35
At the Botanical Gardens, University of British Columbiap. 36
After-Image, Cortes Islandp. 37
My Word Is My Bondp. 39
We Stand Our Groundp. 40
Strong, Off Route 209p. 41
Imagine Thatp. 42
The First, At the Lastp. 44
Rain All Night, Parisp. 46
A Visitp. 49
Sensibilityp. 50
St.-Germain-des-Pres: Summer 1948p. 51
Ritournelle, for Paris 1948p. 52
Private and Profanep. 54
Anniversaryp. 56
Pleasant Avenuep. 57
"Ville Indigene": Afrique du Nordp. 60
Sam Refuted, Respectfullyp. 63
Take Any Cardp. 65
Under a Routine Procedurep. 67
Elegy for Elizabeth Bleecker Averellp. 68
Gigue for Christmas Evep. 69
To Forbid Griefp. 70
Because We Certainly Have Nothing Better to Dop. 71
Survivalp. 72
Springingp. 73
Dialogue of Nemo and Personnep. 74
Explication de Textep. 76
The Crow Dressed in Peacock Feathersp. 78
A Tale Told by Atheneus (Venus Callipygus)p. 79
Symposium Holidayp. 80
Last Resortp. 81
"Luxuria," Dreamboatp. 82
Half Fullp. 83
Out of the North: Two Viewsp. 84
Take My Disproportionate Desirep. 89
"Qu'ai-je a Faire en Paradis?"p. 90
Matins and Laudsp. 91
Possessionp. 92
Multipara Gravida 5p. 93
Communion of Saints: The Poor Bastard Under the Bridgep. 94
"'What Are You Doing Here, Stephen?'"p. 95
Rockefeller the Centerp. 96
For a Divorcep. 99
Basic Skillsp. 103
Residual Paralysisp. 104
About My Birthdayp. 106
Bilingualp. 107
Among Womenp. 109
From the Fountain at Vauclusep. 110
Ghost Writerp. 114
The Differance: Chatou-Croissyp. 117
Live Modelp. 119
Half-Life: Copies to All Concernedp. 121
Unabashedp. 123
As Isp. 124
Latep. 125
Of Certain Studentsp. 129
For a Seasonp. 130
Lullabyp. 131
A Third Thank-You Letterp. 132
Discoveryp. 135
Advice: Ad Haereditates (I)p. 137
Glidingp. 141
The Great Dead, Why Not, May Knowp. 145
On a Library of Congress Photo of Eunice B. Winkless, 1904p. 151
The Problem of Freedom and Commitmentp. 153
The Problem of Fictionp. 154
The Problem of Gratified Desirep. 156
The Problem of Loving-kindnessp. 157
Wearing the Gaze of an Archaic Statuep. 158
"Love Is Not Love"p. 160
Hangzhou, Lake of the Poetsp. 164
Levelsp. 166
The Royal Gatep. 168
Outside the Fertile Crescentp. 169
Synthesisp. 170
De-fusing the Usual Criminal Metaphorsp. 171
Jamaica Wildlife Center, Queens, New Yorkp. 173
The Ides of Mayp. 175
Betweenp. 176
Hard-Shell Clamsp. 177
Out of Edenp. 178
Patientp. 179
Museum out of Mindp. 180
Callp. 183
Friday Marketp. 184
Myopia Makes All Light Sources Radiantp. 185
In Abeyancep. 187
Analemmaticp. 189
Take Time, Take Placep. 190
"I've Been Around: It Gets Me Nowhere"p. 199
Old Mama Saturdayp. 201
Northampton Stylep. 203
The Title's Lastp. 204
One Is Onep. 205
Pourriture Noblep. 206
For My Old Self, At Notre-Damep. 208
The Borderp. 210
Separate, In the Swimp. 212
The Story After the Storyp. 214
Roundstone Covep. 216
Reading a Large Serving Dishp. 217
Analysisp. 219
Two Questionsp. 220
Pre-Textp. 222
Explores Cry Out Unheardp. 224
Winterp. 225
Oceansp. 226
Evenp. 227
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.



In a skiff on a sunrisen lake we are watchers.

Swimming aimlessly is luxury, just as walking
Loudly up a shallow stream is.

As we lean over the deep well, we whisper.

Friends at hearths are drawn to the one warm air;
stranger meet on beaches drawn to the one wet sea.

What wd it be to be water, one body of water
(what water is is another mystery). (We are
water divided.) It wd be a self without walls,
with surface tension, specific gravity, a local
exchange between bedrock and cloud of falling and rising,
rising to fall, falling to rise.

Old Jokes Appreciate

Up the long stairs I run
stumbling, expectant.
Impatience is hopelessly
desperate. Hope
takes time.

Sort out the private from the personal.
Advance on losses at a decent pace.

"Aside from all that, Mrs. Lincoln,
how did you like the play?"


The skull or shell
or wall of bone shaped
with its egg advantages
does not advertise

the gardens it contains,
the marriages, the furies,
or the city it shelters
(clangs, clouds, silences,
found souls crowding,
big dank cans where things

or the glade it hides
for us to hide in, where
—our lives eased open—
we drowse by the pond and wake
beside ourselves with thirst,
where (dipping the cup we find)
we get of necessity
a drink of some depth
full of taste
and original

The darling face,
the fragrant chevelure,
even the beautiful ears
on the shell do not
boast about the workplace inside.

They prefer to appear to agree
they are just along for the ride.

From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpted from Springing: New and Selected Poems by Marie Ponsot
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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