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A book by Joseph Stroud is a rare and exciting event.The Bloomsbury Review
In just four books since the 1960s, the calm, California-based writerwhose works also describe his travels in Vietnam, Laos, India and even the Solomon Islandshas gathered devotees to his pellucid free verse with its unpretentious, unbuttoned feel and its Buddhist overtones. Publishers Weekly
(Stroud's) poems speak from around the globe: Venice, London, Santo Domingo, Guatemala, Vietnam, Santa Cruz, Singapore. Stroud enters the minds of painters such as Goya, Brueghel, and Giotto Bondone, and he pays homage to the poets Blake, Milton, Smart, Lorca, Machado,and Jeffers....Manyof the poems own a clarity that opens to unexpected emotional depths. Onewould be tempted to call them Zen poems because allhave a quiet at the core, but they also love the surfaces. ForeWord
Reading Joseph Stroud's Of This World: New and Selected Poems, two words come to mind, namely 'breadth' and 'breath.' 'Breadth' because of his unerring command of odes, prose poems, sestets, etc....And 'breath' because of each poem's sure-footed movement....Make no mistake, however, these are not sleepy meditations that go up in incense smoke, but fleshy encounters, sensuous reveries, poems that are as much throbbing taproots as they are like that imaginary wingless bird that never lands, or, in other words, poems that flock as much as they flow. Bookslut
Joseph Stroud knows the value of taking ones proper time to write poems, and taking great care when presenting a book to the world. Stroud has published four books in forty years, and his work has earned a devoted audience, including Jane Hirschfield, Ted Kooser, and Jim Harrison. Of This World includes the best from Strouds previous volumes, as well as a series of new poems and translations.
The Georgia Review observed that Joseph Stroud moves easily from the concise to the voluptuous. He does this through various formscompressed lyrics, longer narratives, odes, expansive prose poems. Informed by the qualities of clarity and compassion, and inspired by artists and writers as diverse as Li Po, Neruda, and Giotto, Stroud articulates a reverential attention to the world, and a commitment to revelations found beyond the self.
Across the ravine from the mill house theres a grassy patch where gypsies keep a donkey tied to a tree. Sometimes Ill cross the stream and bring him an apple, holding it out like a rare jewel. Hell contemplate it, then take my whole hand into his lips as soft as suede, and I cant tell how he does it, but when his head lifts back, the apple has disappeared.
Joseph Stroud is the recipient of the prestigious Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. His poems have been featured on National Public Radio, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He splits his time between Santa Cruz, California, and a hand-built cabin in the Sierras.