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An Explanation of America

From An Explanation of America:

Robert Pinsky

Inexhaustible, delicate, as if
Without source or medium, daylight
Undoes the mind; the infinite,

Empty actual is too bright,
Scattering to where the road
Whispers, through a mile of woods …

Later, how quiet the house is:
Dusk-like and refined,
The sweet Phoebe-note

Piercing from the trees;
The calm globe of the morning,
Things to read or to write

Ranged on a table; the brain
A dark, stubborn current that breathes
Blood, a deaf wadding,

The hands feeding it paper
And sensations of wood or metal
On its own terms. Trying to read

I persist a while, finish the recognition
By my breath of a dead giant's breath--
Stayed by the space of a rhythm,

Witnessing the blue gulf of the air.


"[An] ambitious and immensely likable long poem . . . a poem which--a rare thing--seems to combine intimacy and authority."

"I can't imagine anyone who, after reading An Explanation of America, wouldn't want to return to it again and again."---William H. Pritchard, Poetry

"Wise and compassionate. . . . It is one of the most readable long poems in recent memory, graspable by all."---Kenneth Funsten, The Los Angeles Times

Audience: General/trade;