The Mind Has Cliffs of Fall: Poems at the Extremes of Feeling

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$26.95  $25.06
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.9 X 1.0 inches | 1.25 pounds

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About the Author

Robert Pinsky is the author of several books of poetry, including Gulf Music, Jersey Rain, The Want Bone, The Figured Wheel, and, most recently, At the Foundling Hospital. His bestselling translation The Inferno of Dante sets a modern standard. He was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 to 2000. Among his awards and honors are the William Carlos Williams Award, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the PEN/Voelcker Award, the Korean Manhae Prize, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the PEN American Center. He teaches in the graduate creative writing program at Boston University.


The Mind Has Cliffs of Fall is a thrilling roller-coaster ride of an anthology. Just when you think you have mastered the pitch and roll of one emotional extreme, you find yourself careening around a bend into a different extreme. And Pinsky's individual selections are at once deft and surprising: a Renaissance Old Master like Fulke Greville sits cheek-by-jowl with poets like Keetje Kuipers and Katie Willingham, born within hailing distance of the present. The collection is a perfect introduction to poetry's enduring power to explore the utmost bounds of our experience.--Stephen Greenblatt, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Tyrant
This compelling, eloquent anthology achieves what might otherwise seem impossible: persuading the unsayable into melody and cadence and meaning. States of grief, doubt, turmoil, regret, whose roots are usually in shadow and silence, become memorable poems here. For anyone who knows these human feelings--and almost everyone does--this book will become an essential companion.--Eavan Boland, author of A Poet's Dublin
Lovely, so deep, verses so well positioned to each other...We 'fall' into the careful labyrinths mapped and guided by Pinsky, with things to hold on to--delicate preludes, bold structures, preliminary introductions. The 'cliffs' are various, that is, the poems, their 'feeling' forces, their inner apogees of power...A treasure, this book, an alarming call to the present--a fiery devouring black hole of mind-stars blows out to topple you and burn you down--so you can live again.--Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate, 2015-2017
This magnificent collection of deeply felt poems includes many of our favorites but just as many unfamiliar and delightful surprises, each one introduced with quick analytical insight and panache by the former Poet Laureate, who knows his field as well as anyone alive. The result is a lively, stimulating reading experience from end to end.--Phillip Lopate, author of A Mother's Tale