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Love Had a Compass: Journals and Poetry

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Ever generation of poets seems to harbor its own hidden genius, one whose stature and brilliance come to light after his talent has already been achieved and exercised. The same drama of obscurity and nuance that attended the discovery of Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens is suggested by the career of Robert Lax. An expatriate American whose work to date — more than fort Ever generation of poets seems to harbor its own hidden genius, one whose stature and brilliance come to light after his talent has already been achieved and exercised. The same drama of obscurity and nuance that attended the discovery of Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens is suggested by the career of Robert Lax. An expatriate American whose work to date — more than forty books — has been published mostly in Europe, this 85-year-old poet built a following in the U.S. among figures as widespread as Mark Van Doren, e. e. cummings, Jack Kerouac, and Sun Ra. The works in Love Had a Compass represent every stage of Lax's development as a poet, from his early years in the 1940s as a staff writer for The New Yorker to his present life on the Greek Island of Patmos. An inveterate wanderer, Lax's own sense of himself as both exile and pilgrim is carefully evoked in his prose journals and informs the pages of the Marseille Diaries, published here for the first time. Together with the poems, they provide the best portrait available to date of one of the most striking and original poets of our age.


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Ever generation of poets seems to harbor its own hidden genius, one whose stature and brilliance come to light after his talent has already been achieved and exercised. The same drama of obscurity and nuance that attended the discovery of Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens is suggested by the career of Robert Lax. An expatriate American whose work to date — more than fort Ever generation of poets seems to harbor its own hidden genius, one whose stature and brilliance come to light after his talent has already been achieved and exercised. The same drama of obscurity and nuance that attended the discovery of Emily Dickinson and Wallace Stevens is suggested by the career of Robert Lax. An expatriate American whose work to date — more than forty books — has been published mostly in Europe, this 85-year-old poet built a following in the U.S. among figures as widespread as Mark Van Doren, e. e. cummings, Jack Kerouac, and Sun Ra. The works in Love Had a Compass represent every stage of Lax's development as a poet, from his early years in the 1940s as a staff writer for The New Yorker to his present life on the Greek Island of Patmos. An inveterate wanderer, Lax's own sense of himself as both exile and pilgrim is carefully evoked in his prose journals and informs the pages of the Marseille Diaries, published here for the first time. Together with the poems, they provide the best portrait available to date of one of the most striking and original poets of our age.

30 review for Love Had a Compass: Journals and Poetry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cooper Renner

    3 stars for Circus of the Sun, five for most of the rest! Lax was a superb poet, and even the sometimes flagging journal has a great deal to recommend it. The Fables and the Episodes are cool, and the Marseille sequence is a window into a questing open life.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nat Baldino

    3 for enjoyment not how good it really is—-I just recognize that for the most part it’s not my style.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dan

  4. 5 out of 5

    Noel

  5. 5 out of 5

    CharlesQ

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robert Jonte

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mark

  8. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Hu

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robert Cowlishaw

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  11. 4 out of 5

    Elise M

  12. 4 out of 5

    Derek H

  13. 4 out of 5

    Keith Brinkmann

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stelle

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jason

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas DiGiovanni

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wickham

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Patton

  21. 4 out of 5

    lotb

  22. 5 out of 5

    Onamh

  23. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

  24. 5 out of 5

    Arnaldo Vila Pouca

  25. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Spencer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Haerens

  27. 5 out of 5

    Berko Berkovic

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Parker

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vic Pergola

  30. 4 out of 5

    Punk Hostage

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