A Coast of Trees (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Harold Bloom called A. R. Ammons’ Collected Poems: 1951-1971 (1972) “the most distinguished book of American verse . . . since the publication of Wallace Stevens’ Collected Poems in 1955.” Ammons’ volume received high praise and the 1973 National Book Award for poetry, and it still ranks as the major poetic achievement of the last decade. Ammons’ Sphere: The Form of a Motion (1974) won the 1973-1974 Bollingen Prize in Poetry, further solidifying his stature. His most recent offering, A Coast of Trees, sustains this poetic achievement, offering with profound and vital voice a deeply emotive message about where the poet puts his faith. Based on keen observations of natural phenomena and on sharply articulated intellectual concepts, the message defines a vision of order amid the possible chaos of the contemporary world.
Ammons’ vision evokes strong images of the mind and man behind the poetry, shaped by this century’s intellectual and scientific revelations yet linked to timeless trends of thought. While his vision incorporates a cosmology and universal structure in tune with relativity theory and principles of indeterminancy, it finds its greater harmony with the ancient Taoist Way and a general reverence for nature’s specifics. Ammons’ faith is an Oriental faith, and in some ways it is...
(The entire section is 1415 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1982)
Book World. XI, May 3, 1981, p. 8.
Commonweal. CVIII, December 4, 1981, p. 691.
Hudson Review. XXXIV, Autumn, 1981, p. 429.
Library Journal. CVI, April 1, 1981, p. 799.
New Leader. LXIV, June 29, 1981, p. 14.
The New Republic. CLXXXIV, April 25, 1981, p. 28.
The New York Review of Books. XXVIII, October 8, 1981, p. 45.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXVI, May 10, 1981, p. 12.
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