From Library Journal
As a counterpart to The Second Four Books (Copper Canyon, 1993), the publisher collects here the poetry of supremely accomplished poet, memoirist, and translator Merwin over six years, gathering three smaller volumes. These poems of what probably ought to be understood as the poet's middle period show the reactions of an outstanding creative mind to the recurrent concerns of poetry?death, travel, love, and change. Their music lies not so much in the sounds of words as in the images themselves: the "long jagged broken string of bird song" made by unsorted keys in "The Apple"; or, in "Kore," "the candles [that] flutter on the stairs of your voice." These quiet, unpunctuated poems often feel like translations, not so much from another language as from another condition. An excellent opportunity for libraries to begin or complete their collection of the works of one of our most important poets; highly recommended.?Graham Christian, Andover-Harvard Theological Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
To achieve the world-class stature Merwin has so rightly earned, a poet must start off strong, and Merwin was no exception. This volume reclaims the long out-of-print collections The Compass Flower
(1977) and Opening the Hand
(1983) in their glorious entirety, as well as the 1982 suite, "Feathers from the Hill," poems of exquisite clarity that evince Merwin's sensuality, virtuosity, and vital sense of discovery. The title Flower & Hand
is perfect: Merwin's poetic sensibility is as open and receptive as a flower or an open hand, and the hand itself--an instrument of exploration, expression, and union--is emblematic of his conceptual grasp and dexterity. And both flowers and hands are alive, allusions to the profoundly organic nature of Merwin's poems. Merwin merges fully with the landscapes he so lovingly describes, metamorphosing himself and others (especially women he loves) into a blade of grass, a palm, a spring, a stone. These are works of supple perception, dreamy passion, and eternal beauty. Donna Seaman