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Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems (1994)

by David St. John

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Study for the World's Body showcases the work of one of America's most celebrated and groundbreaking poets. In this remarkable and powerful new collection, he has selected the most evocative and well-loved poems from his earlier books and combined them with dazzling new ones. In 1976, St. John made his poetic debut with the publication of Hush, a book that immediately established him as a writer of astonishing power and vision, and revealed the theme that has proven central to his writing throughout his career: desire. In Hush and the three collections that follow it, desire plays out its drama on the body. St. John explores both its physical, erotic manifestations and its spiritual ones with intellectual rigor and an emotional engagement that vibrates with intensity. In his latest poems, St. John has turned his attention more acutely to the moral dimension of desire, writing about the spiritual hardships of the mature soul - sin and alienation, and our true and sometimes thwarted hunger for genuine spiritual communion. These newer poems possess a dark, exciting quality that reflects St. John's aesthetic maturation and assuredness. In his tour de force title poem, with which he concludes the collection, St. John returns to the body once again, and, with the penetrating insight forged by experience and maturity, reexamines with astounding and visionary grace the devastating consequences of our deepest and most overwhelming desires.… (more)
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Study for the World's Body showcases the work of one of America's most celebrated and groundbreaking poets. In this remarkable and powerful new collection, he has selected the most evocative and well-loved poems from his earlier books and combined them with dazzling new ones. In 1976, St. John made his poetic debut with the publication of Hush, a book that immediately established him as a writer of astonishing power and vision, and revealed the theme that has proven central to his writing throughout his career: desire. In Hush and the three collections that follow it, desire plays out its drama on the body. St. John explores both its physical, erotic manifestations and its spiritual ones with intellectual rigor and an emotional engagement that vibrates with intensity. In his latest poems, St. John has turned his attention more acutely to the moral dimension of desire, writing about the spiritual hardships of the mature soul - sin and alienation, and our true and sometimes thwarted hunger for genuine spiritual communion. These newer poems possess a dark, exciting quality that reflects St. John's aesthetic maturation and assuredness. In his tour de force title poem, with which he concludes the collection, St. John returns to the body once again, and, with the penetrating insight forged by experience and maturity, reexamines with astounding and visionary grace the devastating consequences of our deepest and most overwhelming desires.

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