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The World Shouldering I / James Ragan

The World Shouldering I

By: James Ragan

€12.00
James Ragan is an internationally recognized poet who has been praised by Pulitzer winner Henry Taylor as “a snake charmer whose words work real magic.”  In his newest collection, Ragan hails the imagination as the spirit that links us, “I am the sky’s shadow wish / writing this only to breathe its light.”  With this line he shares in a poetics of moral responsibility, echoing Seamus Heaney’s “I rhyme...
ISBN 978-1-912561-88-9
Pub Date Friday, February 15, 2013
Cover Image Calvin Sweat
Page Count 80
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James Ragan is an internationally recognized poet who has been praised by Pulitzer winner Henry Taylor as “a snake charmer whose words work real magic.”  In his newest collection, Ragan hails the imagination as the spirit that links us, “I am the sky’s shadow wish / writing this only to breathe its light.”  With this line he shares in a poetics of moral responsibility, echoing Seamus Heaney’s “I rhyme to see myself / to set the darkness echoing.” Ragan sees the role of the artist as one who shoulders the burdens of himself as well as those of a beleaguered world.  For his vision and compassion, playwright Vaclav Havel has called him“ an Ambassador of the Arts.” Indeed, these poems advocate for striking one’s own note in the face of a future whose business it is to be dangerous. Here is a gallery of marvels — poems of nature, love, jazz, family, and where some address the despairing tragedies of history, all remain affirmations of hope, reassuring  and buoyant, a seasoned craftsman, combining the quotidian with a Yeatsian high poetic. Nowhere is this more eloquently expressed than in the opening poem “A Good Sky” whose sonorous textures call up earlier praise from Publishers Weekly, “he continues his song through the centuries in language that echoes Rilke.”  These are poems of conscience, a voice to set the darkness echoing. 

PRAISE FOR JAMES RAGAN’S POETRY

“James Ragan’s poems are satisfying and distinctive, 
full of arresting collocations and striking phrases.”
U.S. Poet Laureate Richard Wilbur

“Ragan dominates the art of image, the art of poetic line, and 
the art of poetic narration with insight that marks major poets.” 
Nobel Prize Nominee Miroslav Holub

“Fine-grained, a remarkable range of history, thematic variety, 
and tonal dexterity.”
Pulitzer Prize Winner  C.K.Williams

“I admire James Ragan’s sense of history and, 
within that, his instinct to praise.”  
National Book Award Winner  Jean Valentine

James Ragan

James Ragan is an award-winning poet and playwright. Translated into 15 languages, with work appearing in 30 anthologies, he has authored 10 books of poetry including In the Talking Hours, Womb-Weary, The Hunger Wall, Lusions, Selected Poetry, Too Long a Solitude, The World Shouldering I, To Sing Us Out of Silence, The Chanter’s Reed, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s Collected Poems (co-editor). He has read for 7 heads of state and at the United Nations, Carnegie Hall, for CNN, PBS, NPR, and audiences in 34 nations, including China, Japan, England, France, Spain, Brazil, Ireland, and the Czech Republic, etc. In 1985, he was one of four poets from the West, including Seamus Heaney, Bob Dylan, and Robert Bly, invited to perform at the First International Poetry Festival in Moscow. Vaclav Havel has praised him as an “ambassador of the arts.” Honors include 3 Fulbright Professorships, 2 Honorary Doctorates, the Emerson Poetry Prize, 9 Pushcart Prize nominations, a PSA Citation, and the Swan Foundation Humanitarian Award. Ragan’s plays, The Landlord and Commedia, have been staged in the U.S, Moscow, Athens, Beijing and Prague. For 25 years he directed the Graduate Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California and currently serves each summer for 26 years as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry at Charles University in Prague. In 1996 BUZZ Magazine named Ragan one of the “100 Coolest People in Los Angeles: Those Who Make a Difference.”



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