A New Path to the Waterfall

by Raymond Carver | Poetry |
ISBN: 0871133741 Global Overview for this book
Registered by tamarabk of Lynnwood, Washington USA on 3/24/2003
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by tamarabk from Lynnwood, Washington USA on Monday, March 24, 2003
I love this book. This is Raymond Carver's last book, a book of poems. Many of these poems were written after Carver had been diagnosed with cancer and you can feel Carver's joy and amazement for life in every word. He didn't want to die, but he didn't feel sorry for himself either. He had a loving, wonderful wife, truly good friends and he was at the height at of his career, having obtained a popularity virtually unheard of among poets and short story writers. He had everything to live for - he had completely changed his life around and been sober for several years, but still he died. It is hard to read this book without crying, especially when I read the love poems he wrote to Tess, his wife, knowing he had only a short time to live. But still, this book is full of joy and every page is suffused with light and life.
This poem does not appear in the book, but I would like to offer you a poem written by Hayden Carruth about his experience with reading this book:


How many guys are sitting at their kitchen tables
right now, one-thirty in the morning, this same
time, eating a piece of pie?-that's what I
wondered, a big piece of pie because I'd just
finished reading Ray's last book. Not good pie,
not like my mother or my wife could've
made, but an ordinary pie I'd just bought, being
alone, at the Tops Market two hours ago. And how
many had water in their eyes? Because of Ray's
book, and especially those last poems written
after he knew: the one about the doctor telling
him, the one where he and Tess go down to
Reno to get married before it happens and shoot
some craps on the dark baize tables, the one
called "After-Glow" about the little light in the
sky after the sun sets. I can just hear him,
if he were still here and this were somebody
else's book, saying, "Jesus," saying, "This
is the saddest son of a bitch of a book I've
read in a long time," saying, "A real long time."
And the thing is, he knew we'd be saying this
about his book, he could just hear us saying it
and in some part of him he was glad! He
really was. What crazies we writers are,
our heads full of language like buckets of minnows
standing in the moonlight on a dock. Ray
was a good writer, a wonderful writer, and his
poems are good, most of them, and they made me
cry, there at my kitchen table with my head down,
me, a sixty-seven year old galoot, and old fool
because all old men are fools, they have to be,
shoveling big jagged chunks of that ordinary pie
into my mouth, and the water falling from my eyes
onto the pie, the plate, my hand, little speckles
shining in the light, brightening the colors, and I
ate that goddamn pie, and it tasted good to me.

I have always loved that poem by Carruth. My favorite Carver poems from this collection are: Suspenders, Margo, Lemonade, What the Doctor Said, and Cherish. I love this book of poems and each time I read it I dearly wish he had lived to write more.

Journal Entry 2 by tamarabk from Lynnwood, Washington USA on Tuesday, April 01, 2003
I am sending this to bayouposte, who is not expecting it, in celebration of National Poetry Month...

Journal Entry 3 by bayouposte from Bossier City, Louisiana USA on Friday, April 04, 2003
What a wonderful surprise! I have just skimmed the book to get a taste of the poetry, but I nearly cried when I read the dedication page which has only four words:

Tess. Tess. Tess. Tess.

Thanks so much for sending such a meaningful book and the essay by Tess Gallagher (I love knowing more about the poet and his relationships). I didn't even realize it was National Poetry Month!

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