Down and Up

Clarence Major

New poems from an artist whose work demonstrates a wide and deep understanding of the American story


“Clarence Major has written a collection of poetry that celebrates being human. Small moments expand into treatises of love and doubt, life and art, and it all seems so natural. Here’s a poet who has mastered a language he owns through personal rhythm, and he knows what it takes to transcend. Down and Up is shaped under the pressure of living and dreaming with one’s eyes opened.”
—Yusef Komunyakaa, author of The Chameleon Couch

“I love the stark contrasts that run throughout Down and Up and the piercing images that so often cinch the poems’ endings. They remind me that Major is also a painter, someone with such a vivid sense of how narrative and impulse inhabit the visual realm and who is quite readily capable of carrying them into impeccable language.”
—Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars

More / Hide


In Down and Up, Clarence Major makes use of American and European public places, their character and voice, to construct poems that explore the physical world juxtaposed sharply with the inner world. Sometimes realistic, sometimes dreamlike, these poems are dynamic, universal in theme, and acknowledge a debt to the great tradition of modern American poetry. Clear eyed and painterly, they explore wherever Major’s fancy takes him. His distinctive voice and compelling spatial and visual approach offer a connection between everyday human occurrences and the physical space they surround.

Page count: 72 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $19.95

buy button
View Shopping Cart

Clarence Major, prizewinning poet, painter, and novelist, is the author of twelve previous books of poetry. As a finalist for a National Book Award he won a Bronze Medal for his book Configurations: New and Selected Poems, 1958–1998. Among other awards he is also the recipient of a National Council on the Arts Award, a New York Cultural Foundation Award, and the Stephen Henderson Poetry Award for Outstanding Achievement, all three for poetry. His poetry has appeared in hundreds of anthologies and periodicals, in English and in foreign languages, such as several of the Norton anthologies, including Postmodern Poetry in America; American Poetry Review; Kenyon Review; Callaloo; El Corno Emplumado (Mexico); East and West (India); Tuatara (Turkey); Vinduet (Norway); and Literatura na Swiecie (Poland). He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Davis.