The Museum of Clear Ideas
Baker & Taylor
A collection of poems by the author of The One Day and Old and New Poems features poems that act as instruments for revelation or discovery, such as "Another Elegy," a comic portrait of a contemporary poet.
Blackwell North Amer
This is Donald Hall's most advanced works extending his poetic reach even beyond his recent volumes, The One Day and Old and New Poems. Conflict dominates this book, and conflict unites it. Hall takes poetry as an instrument for revelation and discovery, whether in "Another Elegy," a comic, pathetic portrait of a (fictional) contemporary poet, or in "Baseball," in which a narrator called K.C. (swinging his bat from the Mudville of the poet's desk) fantastically attempts to explain the all-American game to a long-dead German artist. "Baseball" occupies nine innings, each inning composed of nine stanzas, each stanza composed of nine lines, each line composed of nine syllables.
The title series of poems, "The Museum of Clear Ideas," imitates, but does not translate, the first book of the Odes of Horace. A cool, witty voice identifies itself as Horace Horsecollar, an old Walt Disney character; yet no sooner does one voice establish itself than another voice contradicts it. By such means are ideas exhibited and clarified. The book's final section, "Extra Innings," moves with terrible poignancy to questions about the end of the game, each inning adding another stanza, each stanza another line, each line another syllable, until the game is over.
The Museum of Clear Ideas, exalting artifice, breaks beyond artifice to the heart of reality. As Thom Gunn wrote of Hall's The One Day, "It is one of those books, like Elizabeth Bishop's last collection, which alters the way we look at the jumbled contents of the poetic career preceding it, giving it retrospectively a shape, a pattern, a consistency it didn't seem to have at the time."
A collection of poems features works that act as instruments for revelation or discovery, such as "Another Elegy", a comic portrait of a contemporary poet
New York : Ticknor & Fields, 1993
Branch Call Number:
120 pages ; 24 cm