Failure

Failure

Poems

eBook - 2009
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A Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection of "heartbreaking tenderness" (Gerald Stern).

A driven immigrant father; an old poet; Isaac Babel in the author's dreams: Philip Schultz gives voice to failures in poems that are direct and wry. He evokes other lives, too--family, beaches, dogs, the pleasures of marriage, the terrors of 9/11, New York City in the 1970s ("when nobody got up before noon, wore a suit/or joined anything")--and a mind struggling with revolutions both interior and exterior. Failure is a superb collection, "full of slashing language, good rhythms [and] surprises" (Norman Mailer).

"Philip Schultz's poems have long since earned their own place in American poetry. His stylistic trademarks are his great emotional directness and his intelligent haranguing--of god, the reader, and himself. He is one of the least affected of American poets, and one of the fiercest." --Tony Hoagland
Publisher: Boston : Mariner Books, 2009.
Edition: 1st Mariner Books ed.
ISBN: 9780547539379
0547539371
Characteristics: 1 online resource (106 p.)
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Waluconis
Apr 04, 2018

Philip Schultz pulls no punches in this collection, which won the Pulitzer Prize when it was published. He is a fearless explorer of contemporary life. A few lines of a poem such as "Blunt" will tell you this:
I want nothing to do
with a soul. I hate
its crenulated edges
and bottomless pockets,
its guileless, eyeless stare.
.... If
I have to believe in something,
I believe in despair. In its
antique teeth and sour breath
and long memory.
The subjects of his poems are, as he describes them, often ideas that "no one can any longer bear to understand." At the same time, one feels better for having visited the places that Schultz's poems take us. The long poem at the end of the volume, "The Wandering Wingless" (pages 50-104), centers on his life as a dog walker. To give you a better idea, not one of the dogs' owners is even mentioned, but other walkers and dogs are. In handling themes in this long poem, Schultz seems to be preparing for his 2014 novel in verse, "The Wherewithal" (which is not about dogs) but sustains multiple focused themes.

b
BloomFree
Mar 21, 2015

Mr. Scultz hits the nail on the head about failure. He also offers a portrait of mental illness, despair and acceptance of the failures and shortcomings inherent in being human.

I found his poetry beautiful and easy to read. Dog lovers will appreciate his reverence and appreciation of his and others canine companions :)

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