2007 National Book Award Winner,
Time and Materials
Interview conducted by Craig Morgan Teicher.
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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Excerpt from Time and Materials
Futures in Lilacs
"Tender little Buddha," she said
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 to see
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, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022