From Now On
New and Selected Poems, 1970–2015

Clarence Major

A new collection of poems from a visionary artist on love, space, power, war, experience, and time

Reviews

“Over the years, I have come to believe that Clarence Major is one of the most significant American poets of the past two decades. Educated as a painter . . . from the outset he brought to poetry the understanding of scale, surface, and palette. . . . His work [is] also linguistically innovative. . . . His is a catholic but intellectually and aesthetically rigorous practice.”
—Susan Wheeler

“For half a century, Clarence Major has been writing poems of remarkable revelation, rare insight, sophisticated lyricism, and authentic joy in the world. I return to his work to be uplifted, inspired—to be caught up in his exacting language and to enter the enduring dance of his elegantly inquisitive soul. My gratitude for this work is boundless.”
—Sam Hamill


“No other voice in American poetry sings quite like Clarence Major’s. . . . Here’s a poet we can call a school of one. . . . Major knows how to make profundity seem accidental. . . . And of course, this concept of easeful engagement is an aspect of the poet’s genius.”
—Yusef Komunyakaa, from the foreword

“Major’s sparse, expertly constructed poems are like ladders luring readers away from the heavily trod, shadowy ground up into clear air, an ascent that places all the quick changes of the heart and mind into sharp perspective. But these gleaming word-ladders lead down, too, out of the thin air . . . back to the earth and body, to pain and rapture.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist

“[Clarence Major] is passionately committed to the aesthetics of language. His poems, viewed as pure form, demonstrate a tireless quest for the right word.”
—Fanny Howe, African-American Review

“I love the stark contrasts. . . . Major is . . . someone with . . . a vivid sense of how narrative and impulse inhabit the visual realm.”
—Tracy K. Smith

"Whether it is through the usage of musical rhythm and images, or slang, at all times, Major maintains a sense of constantly shifting expression and attempts to capture the sharp edge of exhilarating, lived experience."
—Jake Marmer, Chicago Tribune

"Major is no modern-day Robert Frost, whispering homey wisdoms across a stone wall, but a highly-skilled experimentalist who reveals the dangers of the pretenses of poets like Frost, whose language gets caught up in nets of their own making."
—Douglas Messerli, Hyperallergic

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Description

Clarence Major is a consummate artist whose work in poetry, fiction, and painting has been widely recognized. He has been part of twenty-eight group exhibitions, has had fifteen one-man shows, and has published fourteen collections of poetry and nine works of fiction. Major’s works—and this collection in particular—are distinguished by his poetic sociability and his unblinking but generous and affectionate portraiture.

In From Now On, a retrospective of poems from the 1950s to the present—including selections from each of Major’s previous books of poetry as well as a generous selection of new poems—Major creates a vivid gallery of nimbly drawn characters. Here he establishes a voice that is singular and musical, one that draws witty, moving, and empathetic portraits of African American urban and country dwellers. Ultimately, this collection maintains Major’s intimate, conversational poetry while simultaneously becoming more eclectic, multicultural, and cosmopolitan. Major’s poetry is affable, but it suggests an insistence that we can connect with history and social change through the dynamic lives of the people we encounter daily.

Page count: 376
Trim size: 6 x 9

 



Paper
List price: $32.95
978-0-8203-4796-7
4/1/2015

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Ebook
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978-0-8203-4830-8
4/1/2015
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Clarence Major is a prizewinning poet, painter, and novelist. He is the author of thirteen 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. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Davis.