Paul Zimmer Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Paul Zimmer has written a number of other works, including critical essays and personal memoirs, such as “The Importance of Being Zimmer” in American Poets in 1976 (1976), “In the Palm of My Hand” in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution Magazine (1980), After the Fire: A Writer Finds His Place (2002), and Trains in the Distance (2004). Miscellaneous pieces by Zimmer include “Zimmer’s Old-Fashioned Summer Day Mud Cakes,” a recipe, in John Keats’s Porridge: Favorite Recipes of American Poets (1975), and “The Atomic Bomb,” “Robert Frost,” “Teaching Poetry,” and “Strip Mining,” radio commentaries written for recitation on From the Press between 1977 and 1978.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Although Paul Zimmer has received many major awards such as the Borestone Mountain Award (1971), the Yankee Poetry Prize (1972), the Helen Bullis Award from Poetry Northwest (1975), six Pushcart Prizes (1977, 1981, 1993, 2006, 2008, 2010), an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1985), two National Endowment for the Arts grants (1975, 1982), a National Poetry Series selection (1988) for The Great Bird of Love, two Ohioana Book Award for Trains in the Distance and Crossing to Sunlight Revisited (2005, 2008, respectively), and the Posner Book-Length Poetry Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers (2008), he has become equally well known for his refusal of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1990) in protest of its revised antiobscenity guidelines.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

“After the Fire: A Writer Finds His Place.” Review of After the Fire. Virginia Quarterly Review 78, no. 4 (Autumn, 2002): 123-124. A review of Zimmer’s memoirs that celebrates the volume’s open and honest portrayal of a young man’s awakening to the complex nature of life.

Aldan, Daisy. “The Words of the Tribe.” Poetry 118, no. 1 (April, 1971): 35. Aldan suggests that there is a universal language inherent in Zimmer’s poetry—that the incidents and emotions Zimmer describes are common to all of humanity. She sees Zimmer as giving a voice and a language to human experience.

Gery, John. “The Atomic Test Poems of Paul Zimmer.” War, Literature, and the Arts 6, no. 1 (1994): 1-19. Gery is fascinated with Zimmer’s descriptions of his stint in the U.S. Army and his involvement with the early nuclear test program. He studies the bleakness of the young soldier’s experience of war and deprivation as well as his anxiety about the increasing possibility of nuclear annihilation.

Johnson, Douglas S. “’The Longing Season’: Love and Mortality in Paul Zimmer’s Big Blue Train.” Ohioana Quarterly 38, no. 3 (1995): 167-70. Johnson observes a common thread behind Zimmer’s depictions of love affairs and death—the overriding awareness of loss and the inherent emptiness...

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