© Margaretta K. Mitchell, 2001.
Time and Materials
About the Book
These poems are grounded in the beauty and energy
of the physical world, and in the bafflement of
the present moment in American culture.
Robert Hass served as poet laureate of the United
States from 1995 to 1997; he is currently a chancellor
of the Academy of American Poets. He has won numerous
awards, including two National Book Critics Circle
Awards. He was born in San Francisco on March 1,
1941, attended St. Mary’s College in Moraga,
California, and received both an MA and Ph.D. in
English from Stanford University. His books of poetry
include Sun Under Wood: New Poems (Ecco
Press, 1996); Human Wishes (1989), Praise
(1979), and Field Guide (1973), which was
selected by Stanley Kunitz for the Yale Younger
Poets Series. Hass also co-translated several volumes
of poetry with Czeslaw Milosz, most recently Facing
the River (1995), and is author or editor of
several other collections of essays and translation,
including The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho,
Buson, and Issa (1994), and Twentieth Century
Pleasures: Prose on Poetry (1984). He lives
in California with his wife, poet Brenda Hillman,
and teaches at the University of California, Berkeley.
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Art Foundation - Links to audio clips
Excerpt from Time
Futures in Lilacs
"Tender little Buddha,"
Of my least Buddha-like member.
She was probably quoting Allen Ginsberg,
Who was probably paraphrasing Walt Whitman.
After the Civil War, after the death of Lincoln,
That was a good time to own railroad stocks,
But Whitman was in the Library of Congress,
Researching alternative Americas,
Reading up on the curiosities of Hindoo philosophy,
Studying the etchings of stone carvings
Of strange couplings in a book.
She was taking off a blouse,
Almost transparent, the color of a silky tangerine.
From Capitol Hill Walt Whitman must have been able
Willows gathering the river haze
In the cooling and still-humid twilight.
He was in love with a trolley conductor
In the summer of—what was it?—1867? 1868?
The foregoing is excerpted from Time and
Materials by Robert Hass. All rights reserved. No
part of this book may be used or reproduced without
written permission from HarperCollins Publishers,
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