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Till I End My Song


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About the Author

Harold Bloom is a Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. His more than thirty books include The Best Poems of the English Language, The Art of Reading Poetry, and The Book of J. He is a MacArthur Prize Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, including the Academy's Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism, the International Prize of Catalonia, and the Alfonso Reyes Prize of Mexico.


Bloom may be the most famous poetry critic in the English language. As he approached his 80th birthday, he turned his critical faculties toward the subject of death: this surprisingly enjoyable anthology contains the last poems-or the poems that most profoundly contemplate "lastness"-by 100 poets, from Edmund Spenser (d. 1599) to Agha Shahid Ali (d. 2001). Bloom seeks to show, through his selections and commentaries on each poem, that death can be as much an inspiration as a terror. With their last breaths, these poets address God (as John Donne does: "Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,/ Which is my sin, though it were done before?"); future generations (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his "Epitaph," tells those who pass his gravestone, "Beneath this sod/ A poet lies" who "Found death in life" and who hopes to "find life in death!"); a vast public and private self (Frost said, "I opened the door so my last look/ Should be taken outside a house and book"). James Wright finds a new kind of life in the apprehension of his mortality: "How can I feel so warm/ Here in the dead center of January?" Throughout, Bloom's brief prose comments illuminate and entertain. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

"A collection of surpassing splendor and resonance." -- Booklist "[Bloom looks] to poems for clarity about the end of life." -- New York Times Book Review

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