Joseph Stroud

Our Review of Of This World: New and Selected Poems

Coming Soon.

Stroud's Reading of Of This World: New and Selected Poems
The Home-Crowd-Pleasing Event on 9 December 2008

Stroud taught poetry — what it feels like to read it and what it feel like to create it — for four decades. So, four decades of his students showed up to swell the 100-plus audience to his reading at the birth of his Of This World: New and Selected Poems.

The Capitola Book Café (site of the reading) sold out all its copies of Stroud's new book before his reading began, and they back-ordered copies to be autographed for the unlucky late-comers.

One of Stroud's most loyal poetry pals, Morton Marcus, introduced Stroud as a poet "driven not by ego but by praise, love, homage, reverence". He advised us that Stroud is "not just a lyric poet ... [and] not just a nature poet ... But that he is a great poet".

Stroud, suavely dressed in poetic black, read ten of his poems, giving each a concise introduction to orient the listener and (sometimes) to give us the context of his process.

The poems that he chose to read are:

Afterwards, a long long line of us enjoyed having Stroud autograph our copies, sometimes ambiguously. I received:

"To Joan — one of my sharpest critics — over the years."

Back cover of Of This World: New and Selected Poems

"Joseph Stroud knows the value of taking one's proper time to write poems. Across a fourty-year writing career, he has published four books — yet each has made a profound impact, earning critical praise and growing admiration among poets and other readers. Of This World includes the best from Stroud's previous volumes as well as potent selections of new poems and translations."

Country of Light

Read Country of Light by Joseph Stroud.

Publisher: Copper Canyon Press.

Among my favorites are his 6-line poems such as The Executions on Píncipe Pío Hill (p.90) [also in his 2009 New and Selected], which contains:

"... I keep stepping back --
across an ocean, across time, backing away,
hoping it will focus into something I can bear."

and the second part of On What Planet (p.43), which ends:

"... explorer's gentian
    (Gentiana calycosa), summer's last flowers
Go on, kneel down, get up close, peer into one ...
It's like looking into a chalice flecked with stars
Then the mind will give a little nudge, and you are there,
    inside the singing, in a luminous alien night."

About Joseph Stroud

Sometimes Joseph Stroud lives near Santa Cruz, California, sometimes he lives in hand-built cabin in the North American Sierra Nevada, and sometimes (like Mr. Blake) he lives in Paradise.

He has been awarded the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress.

His poems have been featured on National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post.

[Thanks for visiting.]