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Midpoint and Other Poems by John Updike
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Midpoint and Other Poems

by John Updike

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611304,362 (3.33)None
In the boldly eclectic title poem of his collection, John Updike employs the meters of Dante, Spenser, Pope, Whitman, and Pound, as well as the pictographic tactics of concrete poetry, to take an inventory of his life at the end of his thirty-fifth year--at midpoint.  These cantos form both a joke on the antique genre of the long poem and an attempt to write one: an earnest meditation on the mysteries of the ego, lost time, and the mundane.                 The remainder of the volume is a six years' harvest of light verse and incidental lyrics--poems dealing with love and death, animals and angels, places and persons, dream artifacts and the naked ape.  As a writer of humorous verse Mr. Updike is alone in his generation; to serious poetry he brings the vision and warmth characteristic of his prose.… (more)

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In many ways this is Updike's most ambitious volume of poetry, but many of the poems reflect his allegiance to the minor genre of light verse, in which he excelled early on. The forty-two-page title poem is an exercise in virtuosity, but is also one of the most important statements of Updike's philosophy of life.

The day after Updike died I passed this book around a classroom of undergraduates and a number of them found it startling and intriguing. ( )
  jensenmk82 | Oct 22, 2009 |
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Of nothing but me, me/--all wrong, all wrong--/as I cringe in the face of glory/I sing, lacking another song.
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An easy Humanism plagues the land;/I choose to take an otherworldly stand. ("Midpoint," V, "Conclusion")
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