cover image of the book Of The Great House

Of The Great House

Poetryby Allen Grossman

“A book of poems should have exactly the same fullness and risk and lay itself open to the same judgment as a life,” says Allen Grossman. Of the Great House, which includes sections of A Harlot’s Hire (1961), Grossman’s first published book, as well as his most recent poetry, presents an anatomy of the poet’s working life. The title poem invokes “the sighted singer, in a/Passionate, laboring house,” who confronts those figures in his unconscious which influence and interfere with poetic vision, braving the necessary destructions until “there is nothing in place of what/I know, the only thing that is––the world.” Part II, “The Pictures in a Man’s Life,” seeks out relationships among the haunting, inspiring, “demonically incoherent facts of life in the world––the poet’s parents, yellowwoods blooming on a lawn, closeness to an earlier self. “The Dream Which Wakes the Sleeper Does Not End” contains poems from an earlier life, and Of the Great House closes with “An Inventory of Destructions,” a summing and a summoning: “the poet speaks to the unborn in the/language of the born, and to the born he speaks/The language of the unborn––Break down and build!/Destructions are of the poet. Death is of God.”

Paperback(published Apr, 01 1982)

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Portrait of Allen Grossman

Allen Grossman

Contemporary American poet