Americana and Other Poems by John Updike

By John Updike

John Updike's first choice of verse in view that his Collected Poems, 1953-1993 brings jointly fifty-eight poems, 3 of them of substantial length.

The 4 sections take in, so as: the US, its towns and airplanes; the poet's existence, his adolescence, birthdays, and diseases; overseas shuttle, to Europe and the tropics; and, starting with the lengthy "Song of Myself," lifestyle, its furnishings and consolations.

There is little of the sunshine verse with which Mr. Updike all started his writing profession approximately fifty years in the past, yet a gentle contact should be felt in his nimble manipulation of the ghosts of metric order, in his caressing of the residing textures of items, and in his reluctance to wave so long to all of it.

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All things were still. ”6 “Boon” uses what Mary Louise Pratt calls the “monarch-of-allI-survey” moment7 to assert his domination of the scene, validated by his accomplishment in attaining the height, his aesthetic appreciation of the vista before him, and his ritual consumption of the game he has killed. A later description confirms his claim by depicting the newly settled “Kentucke, lately an howling wilderness,” as “a fruitful field” (Colonel Daniel Boon, 27 william w. stowe p. 49) and the site of future cities “situated on the fertile banks of the great Ohio, rising from obscurity to shine with splendor, equal to any other of the stars of the American hemisphere” (p.

Some travelers pictorialize the passing scene as a way of dominating the world around them. John Filson’s fictionalized “Daniel Boon” casts himself as an articulate and sensitive pioneer who sees the landscape as happily empty and claims to be its rightful inheritor. Having “gained the summit of a commanding ridge,” he “surveyed the famous river Ohio that rolled in silent dignity, marking the western border of Kentucke with inconceivable grandeur . . All things were still. ”6 “Boon” uses what Mary Louise Pratt calls the “monarch-of-allI-survey” moment7 to assert his domination of the scene, validated by his accomplishment in attaining the height, his aesthetic appreciation of the vista before him, and his ritual consumption of the game he has killed.

Stowe of the scene, taking us from “a deep and uncontinented ocean sluggish with amorphous scums” (p. 23), through a barren desert, “a Jurassic landscape of particularly dramatic dinosaurs,” “the great Cretaceous seaway,” a Paleocene swamp, and an Eocene river “running off a mountain into lush semi-tropical plains, where puppy-sized horses were hiding for their lives” (p. 24). Unaffected by the conventions of sublime and picturesque, untroubled by the need to associate his word-pictures with European models, McPhee gives us landscapes, whether in Wyoming or Maine, Alaska or New Jersey, as they look to an observant visitor and as they can be made to live through knowledge of their history, whether natural or human or both.

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