|Title||:||At The End Of The Open Road|
|Number of Pages||:||463 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
At The End Of The Open Road Reviews
After Louis Simpson died, I read several obituaries that stirred me enough to order a couple of his volumes from the library. This book was the skinniest, and although I didn't love all the poems - two were absolutely worth the read for some of the lines that captured how I feel, living in LA and feeling tiny tremors of the demise of civility and culture. One of these favorites is "Pacific Ideas--A Letter to Walt Whitman." In the poem, things happen - for instance, Caruso runs out of a San Francisco hotel into the street - but mostly it seems a series of images a la Whitman with a little Woody Guthrie as a side note. Even though this book was published in 1963, Simpson seems prescient:Ever night, at the end of AmericaWe taste our wine, looking at the Pacific.How sad it is, the end of America!While we were waiting for the landThey'd finished it--with gas drumsOn the hilltops, cheap housing in the valleysWhere lives are mean and wretched.But the banks thrive and the realtorsRejoice--they have their America.Simple, spare, sometimes lovely writing. I have a feeling that some of these poems are perhaps not of the highest order, but I give it four stars for the pleasure I got out of reading them.
A collection of often wonderful poems, which I saw as American as On the Road—the similarity coming from the title and much of the tone as well. Simpson's poetry is a kind of standard lyricism. Often the poems start with descriptions of a scene or place, either the budding American towns of San Francisco or New York, or the more traditional landscapes of pacific coasts, New Mexican stretches, or wooded east, and then proceeds to make a point about America, usually a criticism of America's past, present, future in its consumerist, anti-intellectual, technology and progress-obsessed, unreflective glory. Hardly a new criticism but Simpson does it well, and less didactically than I've suggested. And there is very different tone from On the Road in that Simpson's poems strike me as pretty classically lyrical. He is not trying to invent a new from of American poetry. He is not even saying "I have all these new brilliant ideas about America." He's is rather lamenting that the poetic tradition has been ignored by the modern, ascendant, post-war America. He wishes that all could see the country, its present, past and future, through the critical and creative art of poetry. But he also realizes the unlikeliness of this. At the end where he talks to Walt Whitman, we realize that poetry cannot change the world, but it can sure help the people who enjoy it.