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Works and Days

by Mayes, Edward Kleinschmidt A

  • ISBN: 9780822957089
  • ISBN10: 0822957086

Works and Days

by Mayes, Edward Kleinschmidt A

  • List Price: $12.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Publish date: 12/01/1999
  • ISBN: 9780822957089
  • ISBN10: 0822957086
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Description: Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes carouses -- playfully, deliciously -- through the Italian countryside with his latest collection of poems. Like Hesiod's Works and Days, Mayes's collection explores the art of living and the transformations of one's life while working the land as a farmer. In his hand, the ecstatic and elegiac meet, often shifting between a wide-angle lens to the immediacy of the kitchen table, from Newton's revelations to the death of his parents.

This book is written as an abecedarius: each poem's Italian title begins with a different letter of the alphabet, from Ago (needle) to Zappa (hoe). Often beginning a poem on the word that ended the last, Mayes strings his readers along on denotation and double meaning -- slight detours that take us from here to there, from Ovid shouting at his dog to our eternal quarrel with time. We follow this poet and his words, delighting in the movement, continually transported by sudden evocations of emotion that hit close to the heart. Mayes, known for his complex play with linguistic roots and for hard-driving tensile forms, extends his reach into the Italian language. As he farms his little plot of Tuscan soil, he introduces Italian phrases with a sense of wonder and pleasure, reminding us of our attraction for the word -- imagination made flesh. He comes to realize that his "fields are poetry and olives, " and his furrows and lines are seeded with Dante, and Virgil, Robert Johnson, and Jussi Bjorling.

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