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Collected Poems [Paperback]

David Markson


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Book Description

Feb. 1 2010
"Markson is regarded as an inventive literary stylist in the manner of James Joyce, William Gaddis, and Malcolm Lowry . . . and many critics have commented that his compressed, highly allusive fiction verges on poetry." In view of such a judgment (from Contemporary Literary Criticism), it should surely come as less than a surprise that Markson has indeed written poems through much of his career, the best of which are gathered here for the first time. "Some are only playful," he indicates in a casually self-deprecating foreword, while certain others "are lyrics of a type generally deemed antiquated." Nonetheless, both these and his more ambitious efforts bear witness to Markson's lifelong creative absorption with such subjects as literature, art, music, the creative process, love and its loss, death, male-female relationshipsnot to mention drink, sex, even certain cherished aspects of the female anatomy. And, any "surprise" here, then, is finally perhaps only at Markson's stunning poetic variants on those extraordinary qualities that vitalize his prose.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Markson, as a prose writer, has often been compared to James Joyce. His novels, Springer's Progress and, particularly, Wittgenstein's Mistress , are filled with a kind of lyrical music and allusiveness that is the very embodiment of modernist fiction. Here, he has assembled an amusing and at times moving collection of short poems, and if they perform no other function than to give solid, comic, earthy background to the stylistic arabesques of his other work, then they have served a good purpose. The poems have a throwaway quality to them, light lyrics composed under duress of hangover, love's betrayals and bad reviews. Together, they track the rising and falling, soft and embittered sensibility of a New York writer eyeing the streets for women or perhaps Dylan Thomas. Or James Agee. Or e.e. cummings. Or Malcolm Lowry (about whom Markson has written a critical study). Markson's style, he admits in the foreword, is "of a type generally deemed antiquated," but the book seems only all the more larkish for it. The appendices include a prose reminiscence of Conrad Aiken, and a recollection of the night that drinking buddy Dylan Thomas died. Like Joyce's single volume of poems Chamber Music , these poems provide a little more grip on the major works of their creator.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Like Joyce's single volume of poems Chamber Music, these poems provide a little more grip on the major works of their creator." -- Publishers Weekly 8-9-93

"Ultimately, that very sense of playfulness and humor distinguishes these poems from the seriousness and cynicism that sometimes seem to dominate our literature and our life." -- The Malcolm Lowry Review Fall 93

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Mainly for collecters of Markson only... May 26 2010
By J. Crombez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Markson's poetry is a little bit dated, but has a few pieces of true value. What I liked most is how it foreshadowed some of his later style in the ancedotal novels. A writer for the literary crowd, whose name drops don't mean anything if you aren't well read. This clearly isn't a book of poetry for everyone, but it was enjoyable. Even Markson in the introduction pokes fun at his style that is at times outmoded. Worth adding to a collection for a fan.
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