White Spaces: Selected Poems and Early Prose (Paperback)
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“Magnificent poetry; dark, severe, even harsh—yet pulsating with life.” —John Ashbery
White Spaces gathers the poetry and prose of Paul Auster from various small-press books issued throughout the seventies. These early poetic works are crucial for understanding the evolution of Auster’s writing. Taut, lyrical, and always informed by a powerful and subtle music, his poems begin with basics—a swallow’s egg, stones, roots, thistle, “the glacial rose”—and push language to the breaking point. As Robert Creeley wrote, “The enduring power of these early poems is their moving address to a world all too elusive, too fragmented, and too bitterly transient.” Auster’s poems are grounded in a physical utterance that is at once an exploration of the mind and of the world. This collection begins with compact verse fragments from Spokes (originally published in Poetry, 1971) and goes through Auster’s marvelous later collections including Wall Writing (The Figures, 1976), Facing the Music (Parenthese, 1979), and White Spaces (Station Hill, 1980).
About the Author
A critically acclaimed novelist, essayist, and translator, Paul Auster lives in Brooklyn. He is the author of many novels, including 4321, The New York Trilogy, and City of Glass. New Directions publishes his Red Notebook as well as his translations of Stephane Mallarmé’s A Tomb for Anatole and Philippe Petit’s On the High Wire.
From the spook of ‘Spokes’ and the parabolic philosophical
chiaroscuro of ‘White Spaces’ to the gnomic sighs of what’s in between, Paul
Auster’s poems shimmer at the edges with audacious grace and uncanny
— Charles Bernstein
Anyone interested in the origins of Paul Auster’s art, its
ground, will find these intense early sequences, these liminal austerities, of
great interest. Auster’s is a poetry of extreme lyric condensation.
— Michael Palmer