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Book Title: The Light Around The Body|
Date of issue: August 1991
ISBN 13: 9780060907860
The author of the book: Robert Bly
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.25 MB
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Read full description of the books The Light Around The Body:I read the title of the book and anticipated something completely different than I encountered. I guess I was hoping for something spiritually uplifting, but Bly's The Light Around The Body is more "dark night of the soul."
The poetry is dark and violent - reflective, I suppose, of the times (mid to late sixties - Vietnam war, Bay of Pigs, Kennedy, Cold War, etc.)
Bly's collection is broken into five parts, and each part begins with a quotation from Jakob Boehme, a German Christian mystic and theologian who lived during the late sixteenth/early seventeenth century. (Interestingly, I liked these quotes better than the poems, especially this one that kicks off the book: "For according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in the inward world ... Since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages.")
Here is the poem that resonated the most with me:
The Busy Man Speaks
Not to the mother of solitude will I give myself
Away, not to the mother of love, nor to the mother of conversa
Nor to the mother of art, nor the mother
Of tears, nor the mother of the ocean;
Not to the mother of sorrow, nor the mother
Of the downcast face, nor the mother of the suffering of death;
Not to the mother of the night full of crickets;
Not the mother of the open fields, nor the mother of Christ.
But I will give myself to the father of righteousness, the father
Of cheerfulness, who is also the father of rocks,
Who is also the father of perfect gestures;
From the Chase National Bank
An arm of flame has come, and I am drawn
To the desert, to the parched places, to the landscape of zeroes;
And I shall give myself away to the father of righteousness,
The stones of cheerfulness, the steel of money, the father of
Read information about the authorRobert Bly is an American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men's Movement.
Robert Bly was born in western Minnesota in 1926 to parents of Norwegian stock. He enlisted in the Navy in 1944 and spent two years there. After one year at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, he transferred to Harvard and thereby joined the famous group of writers who were undergraduates at that time, which included Donald Hall, Adrienne Rich, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, Harold Brodky, George Plimpton, and John Hawkes. He graduated in 1950 and spent the next few years in New York living, as they say, hand to mouth.
Beginning in 1954, he took two years at the University of Iowa at the Writers Workshop along with W. D. Snodgrass, Donald Justice, and others. In 1956 he received a Fulbright grant to travel to Norway and translate Norwegian poetry into English. While there he found not only his relatives but the work of a number of major poets whose force was not present in the United States, among them Pablo Neruda, Cesar Vallejo, Gunnar Ekelof, Georg Trakl and Harry Martinson. He determined then to start a literary magazine for poetry translation in the United States and so begin The Fifties and The Sixties and The Seventies, which introduced many of these poets to the writers of his generation, and published as well essays on American poets and insults to those deserving. During this time he lived on a farm in Minnesota with his wife and children.
In 1966 he co-founded American Writers Against the Vietnam War and led much of the opposition among writers to that war. When he won the National Book Award for The Light Around the Body, he contributed the prize money to the Resistance. During the 70s he published eleven books of poetry, essays, and translations, celebrating the power of myth, Indian ecstatic poetry, meditation, and storytelling. During the 80s he published Loving a Woman in Two Worlds, The Wingéd Life: Selected Poems and Prose of Thoreau,The Man in the Black Coat Turns, and A Little Book on the Human Shadow.
His work Iron John: A Book About Men is an international bestseller which has been translated into many languages. He frequently does workshops for men with James Hillman and others, and workshops for men and women with Marion Woodman. He and his wife Ruth, along with the storyteller Gioia Timpanelli, frequently conduct seminars on European fairy tales. In the early 90s, with James Hillman and Michael Meade, he edited The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, an anthology of poems from the men's work. Since then he has edited The Darkness Around Us Is Deep: Selected Poems of William Stafford, and The Soul Is Here for Its Own Joy, a collection of sacred poetry from many cultures.
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