Endpoint (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
When John Updike died in January, 2009, at the age of seventy-six, the literary world was filled with retrospectives of his life as a prose writer. He had written more than twenty novels, as well as many short stories, essays (including literary criticism), two plays, and even a few books for children. Updike’s prose seems likely to become a lasting part of the American fiction canon. It is not surprising, therefore, that his poetry has often been overlooked, although he published at least one volume of poems in each decade of his writing life (eight volumes in all, including Endpoint), and his poems appeared in a variety of periodicals ranging from The New Yorker to American Poetry Review. Thus, he produced a very respectable body of poetic work by any standard.
The first third of Endpoint collects the volume’s titular grouping of poems. Updike began the grouping as a series of birthday poems, producing one each year beginning in 2002, when he turned seventy. He added to the series several poems written during his final illness. Always interested in form, Updike used unrhymed sonnets for these poems, often joining three or more sonnets to make a birthday poem, sometimes concluding with a half rhyme to bring the poem to an end. Although all their subjects begin with the birthday in question and consider, at least in part, the general subject of aging, the poems also include many references to Updike’s youth,...
(The entire section is 1777 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
Booklist 105, no. 15 (April 1, 2009): 15.
New Statesman 138, no. 4956 (July 6, 2009): 46-49.
The New York Review of Books 56, no. 10 (June 11, 2009): 8-9.
The New York Times Book Review, May 3, 2009, p. 15.
Publishers Weekly 256, no. 13 (March 31, 2009): 29.
The San Francisco Chronicle, April 12, 2009, p. J1.
The Times Literary Supplement, July 10, 2009, pp. 19-20.
(The entire section is 43 words.)