Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems

by Ursula K. Le Guin

From a celebrated writer, a new and selected volume of poetry that spans fifty years of work. It includes some of the best of her earlier verse along with a rich series of new poems that she has been writing for the last four years.

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780547858227
  • ISBN-10: 0547858221
  • Pages: 208
  • Publication Date: 09/18/2012
  • Carton Quantity: 1
About the Book
About the Author
  • About the Book
    "She never loses touch with her reverence for the immense what is." — Margaret Atwood

    Though internationally known and honored for her imaginative fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin started out as a poet, and since 1959 has never ceased to publish poems. Finding My Elegy distills her life's work, offering a selection of the best from her six earlier volumes of poetry and introducing a powerful group of poems, at once earthy and transcendent, written in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

    The fruit of over a half century of writing, the seventy selected and seventy-seven new poems consider war and creativity, motherhood and the natural world, and glint with humor and vivid beauty. These moving works of art are a reckoning with a whole life.


  • About the Author
  • Excerpts

    From Wild Angels (1960–1975)

    I made a poem going
    to sleep last night, woke
    in sunlight, it was clean forgotten.
    If it was any good, gods
    of the great darkness
    where sleep goes and farther
    death goes, you not named,
    then as true offering
    accept it.

    The Maenads
    Somewhere I read
    that when they finally staggered off the mountain
    into some strange town, past drunk,
    hoarse, half naked, blear-eyed,
    blood dried under broken nails
    and across young thighs,
    but still jeering and joking, still trying
    to dance, lurching and yelling, but falling
    dead asleep by the market stalls,
    sprawled helpless, flat out, then
    middle-aged women,
    respectable housewives,
    would come and stand nightlong in the agora
    as ewes and cows in the night fields,
    guarding, watching them
    as their mothers
    watched over them.
    And no man
    that fierce decorum.

    From A Book of Songs

    The Old Lady
    I have dreed my dree, I have wooed my wyrd,
    and now I shall grow a five-foot beard
    and braid it into tiny braids
    and wander where the webfoot wades
    among the water’s shining blades.
    I will fear nothing I have feared.
    I’m the queen of spades, the jack of trades,
    braiding my knives into my beard.
    Why should I know what I have known?
    Once was enough to make it my own.
    The things I got I will forget.
    I’ll knot my beard into a net
    and cast the net and catch a fish
    who will ungrant my every wish
    and leave me nothing but a stone
    on the riverbed alone,
    leave me nothing but a rock
    where the feet of herons walk.

    Creation of the Horse
    The salt green uncle-god, the Earthquaker,
    thought of a creature with muscles like sea-swells
    to leap across the beaches like a breaker
    and beat on the earth like the waves with its feet.
    So he struck a startled island with his trident
    and then himself stood back in surprise
    at the fiery uprearing, the white mane flying,
    the foam-spattered flanks and the earth-dark eyes.

    The Arts of Old Age
    written in the airport
    I learn the arts of old age day by day:
    the expertise of being lame; the sense
    of unimpatient impotence;
    the irony of all accomplishments;
    the silent, furtive welcome of delay.

    The Whirlwind
    Will fear of the foreboding dream
    avert or invite the prophecy?
    How to foretell the paths of dust
    caught in this visionary whirl,
    this standing wind, this spiral stream?
    A breath breathed out will set me free.
    I’ll choose to do the thing I must.
    The world dreamed me, I dream the world.

    January Night Prayer
    Bellchimes jangle, freakish wind
    whistles icy out of desert lands
    over the mountains. Janus, Lord
    of winter and beginnings, riven
    and shaken, with two faces,
    watcher at the gates of winds and cities,
    god of the wakeful:
    keep me from coldhanded envy
    and petty anger. Open
    my soul to the vast
    dark places. Say to me, say again,
    nothing is taken, only given.

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