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Fathering the Map

New and Selected Later Poems

"Poetry," wrote Wordsworth, "is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the impassioned expression which is the countenance of all Science." Robert Pack’s new book is a heady mixture of the finer spirit.

A selection from his last five books, along with a collection of new poems, Fathering the Map takes us from the personal reflections distilled in the lyrics of Waking to My Name (1980) to the worldly reckonings of Inheritance (1992) and back again. In the dramatic monologues of Faces in a Single Tree (1984), in the narrative of a wayward life from womb to double ending in Clayfield Rejoices, Clayfield Laments (1987), in a cosmic tour conducted by the physicist Heinz Pagels with Before It Vanishes (1990), Pack has fashioned poems of intimate experience, scientific meditations, philosophical wonder, poems that breathe the knowledge of man and woman, young and old, artist and human animal.

Pack’s work has won the acclaim of writers, critics, and readers from Robert Penn Warren to Cynthia Ozick to Stephen Jay Gould, who comments that the "precious contacts of science and poetry are now sadly rare, but Bob Pack revitalizes the ancient union with incisive poems that sing with lyricism or bite with insight—but always seem to add wisdom to the scientist’s epigram."

"The poet improves his style and spirit as he extends his reach," Howard Nemerov has written, and in his new work Pack reaches back to some of his earliest memories, and so forward to a personal mythology that circles from the primal instant to the present ecological crisis. "Robert Pack’s poetry is deeply rooted in his won family life," Richard Wilbur has remarked, "and yet his imagination has always included us all."

And Cynthia Ozick has said of Pack’s poetry: "We rejoice as we read."

Read an excerpt.

312 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1993


Table of Contents

Fathering the Map (1993)
Wild Turkeys in Paradise
Stellar Thanksgiving
The Snowy Owl
Cherry Robbers
Villanelle for Pamela
Stolen Clothes
South Bronx
Camp Wakonda
The Last Drowning
Einstein’s Pegasus
Pantoum Approaching the Speed of Light
Ode to October Mist
Robot Romance
Letter to My Widow
The Ecstasy of the Rat
A Hole in the Sky
It Comes to This
Landscape Goat
It Would Have Been Enough
Mountain Ash without Cedar Waxwings
Fathering the Map
from Waking to My Name (1980)
After Returning from Camden Harbor
Departing Words to a Son
Rondo of the Familiar
The Kiss
Looking at a Mountain Range While Listening to a Mozart Piano Concerto
A Cord of Wood
The Thrasher in the Willow by the Lake
A Modest Boast at Meridian
The Twin
Waking to My Name
from Faces in a Single Tree (1984)
Early and Late
Ghost Story
Sister to Brother
Trying to Separate
The Cracked Apple Tree
Trying to Reconcile
Prayer for Prayer
from Clayfeld Rejoices, Clayfeld Laments (1987)
Clayfeld’s Microscope
Clayfeld’s Duck
Clayfeld’s Glove
Clayfeld’s Twin
Clayfeld’s Metamorphosis
Clayfeld Renews His Vow to Evelyn
Clayfeld’s Infancy
Clayfeld Prunes His Apple Trees
Clayfeld’s Campaign
Clayfeld’s Operatic Debut
Clayfeld’s Daughter Reveals Her Plans
Clayfeld’s Son Selects His Specialty
Clayfeld among the Quarks
Clayfeld’s Anniversary Song
from Before It Vanishes (1989)
Stepping Out
Big Bang
After All
Proton Decay
Neanderthal Poem, "Ah," Number One
The Invisible Hand
Autumn Warmth
Let There Be Colored Light
The Red Shift
Out of Nothing
The Black Hole
The First Word at Last
Outlasting You
from Inheritance (1992)
The Cave of Lascaux
The Dead King
The Wolf Pack
The Human Pile
Ode to a Lovesick Moose
Still Passing
Beating Time
Forgetting to Forget
Unburying the Birch
The Dwarf and Doctor Freud
The Bear on the Unicycle
The Long and the Short of What’s Good and What’s Bad
Index of Titles and First Lines

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