For the Century’s End

Poems 1990-1999

John Haines

  • $14.95 paperback (9780295981451) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2001
  • Subject Listing: Poetry
  • Bibliographic information: 104 pp., 6” x 9.25”
  • Territorial rights: world
  • Series: The Pacific Northwest Poetry Series
  • Contents

"I have always sought a poetry that . . . can include the public events of our time and do so in a way that makes them at once contemporary and unavoidably linked with humanity’s long and troubled history."—John Haines, Preface

Poet and essayist John Haines has forged, in his long career, a body of work noted both for its austere lyric beauty, anchored in the solitude and spaciousness of his early years as a homesteader in the Alaskan wilderness, and for its penetrating responsiveness to the human condition. The generous selection of poems in For the Century’s End conveys, in form and substance, the singular and exhilarating power of Haines’s poetry of the past decade, underscoring his role as one of the major writers of our time.

John Haines is the author of fourteen books of poetry and five books of essays. His honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Academy of American Poets; the Alaska Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; the Western States Arts Federation Lifetime Achievement Award; the Lenore Marshall/Nation Award; the Poet’s Prize; and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

"I am the one who touches fire,/ who rakes the leaves to watch them burn," Haines writes in his introductory poem. This subtle yet vivid juxtaposition of the temporal and eternal is characteristic of the book’s method and unwavering passion. Organized into five sections, the poems in each group arc from the mythic to the personal, as does the central, twelve-part poem "In the House of Wax." Their journey incorporates both anguish over the state of the present-day world, and an abiding, forward-looking spiritual resolve. Individual poems deal with subjects as wide ranging as the cave petroglyphs of the ancient Chumash Indian culture of southern California to contemporary explorations of outer space and our attempts to find some new ground in the solar system. Throughout, Haines taps into an ancient environmental wisdom that links us all.

"John Haines remains one of our greatest poets, and this volume of his work over the last decade should not be overlooked. . . . Haines is a master of voice and perception. His ability to draw an aura around the darkest moments of our lives is uncanny; it never leaves us." - Bloomsbury Review

"A Haines poem is clear, cold and thin as an icicle, often in accentual verse, sparing with metaphor, a slow-burning fuse." - The Times Literary Supplement

"In fifty years [Haines] will be one of the few contemporary poets left of the thousands in print today: he'll represent our moment in history and be read for his prophetic and grimly beautiful picture of it." - Open Spaces