Ground Work II: In The Dark

Poetry by Robert Duncan

Ground Work II: In the Dark is the concluding volume of Robert Duncan’s later poems. The collection taken as a whole was proposed by the author in 1968 but withheld from publication for fifteen years in order, as he has said, for the poetry of his maturity to gestate. The first volume, Ground Work: Before the War, was published in 1983 to immediate acclaim: it was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won for Duncan the first National Poetry Award, “for his lifetime devotion to the art of poetry and his grand achievement..” Like Before the War, this second volume is built upon thematic groups of poems: “An Alternate Life,” “To Master Baudelaire,” “Veil, Turbine, Cord, & Bird,” “Regulators,” and “The Five Songs”––the latter two further “Passages” and “Structures of Rime,” sequences that resonate throughout Duncan’s work of the last thirty years. In the Dark, however, echoes a special note of intimacy, rung by the self against eternity, as the poet contemplates “this state/that knows nor sleep nor waking, nor dream…”

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Robert Duncan

20th century American poet affiliated with the San Francisco Renaissance and Beat movement.