On Time

On Time : Poems 2005-2014

3.82 (40 ratings by Goodreads)
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On Time is Joanne Kyger's first full-length collection of poetry in nearly a decade. Beginning in 2005, in the throes of the endless wars of the Bush administration, and proceeding chronologically to 2014, On Time may be seen as the day book of a master poet, moving between the personal and the political, the natural and the spiritual in a restless quest for sanity. Reflecting her practice of Zen Buddhism, and her long engagement with environmentalism, On Time is a profound examination of contemporary culture from a perspective of wisdom and maturity, permeated with righteous indignation and fierce criticism. Praise for On Time: "On Time offers exquisite panoramic views of eternity. It reads like an early morning drive up the coast with sunlight showing through the branches. Joanne's words gain a perfect stillness hanging in the air. They sound in our mind then dissolve to a hairline edge. Glide with the turn. Get blown away. There is no greater voice in American poetry."-Cedar Sigo "Oh reader, you can just relax and spend hour upon hour inside Joanne Kyger's On Time, Poems 2005-2014, for oodles of pleasure and line-fun! Kyger beautifully observes her life and times.
She's realistic, yet graceful and good-willed, annotating herself, her friends and acquaintances, while definitely saying no to Sartre's dictum, 'hell is other people.' What a graceful, complicated and wonderful book!"--Ed Sanders "Like the double meaning of the title, Kyger's poems speak to the phenomenological--both to the observations of the state of being and to one's own placement in the world. Her poems ' step / about entering into an agreement / with the page of the moment'. Working elegantly, tone by tone, her poems are by turns political, pointed, intimate, humorous, ordinary, and profound. Here you will find instructive or incriminating dreams, world affairs, human frailties, friends that come and go, wisdom and whimsy. Visually sculpted, rich in mood movement, provocative and pleasurable, these are poems like the moon: illuminating, in transit, stately, and enduring."-Hoa Nguyen About the Author: One of the major poets of the SF Renaissance, Joanne Kyger was born in 1934 in Vallejo, CA. After studying at UC Santa Barbara, she moved to San Francisco in 1957, where she became a member of the circle of poets around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan.
In 1960, she joined Gary Snyder in Japan. They then traveled to India where, along with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, they met the Dalai Lama. She returned to California in 1964 and published her first book, The Tapestry and the Web, in 1965. In 1969, she settled in Bolinas, where she continues to reside today. She has published over 30 books of poetry and prose, including The Japan and India Journals: 1960-1964 (2015), On Time: Poems 2005-2014 (2015), As Ever: Selected Poems (2002), and About Now: Collected Poems (2007), which won the 2008 Josephine Miles Award from PEN Oakland.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 126 pages
  • 178 x 191 x 12.7mm | 199g
  • Monroe, OR, United States
  • English
  • 0872866807
  • 9780872866805
  • 768,963

Review quote

"Kyger's project .. is a great deal more ambitious than mere writing of a personal journal. She's creating a contemporary history, fusing private and public, personal and national in ways that add up to a formidable alternative to more traditional models of historical narration. As the poet rages about the country's political direction and environmental woes, she envelops her commentary with a peculiar mix of Zen teachings and noir-tinged humor ... Kyger's aesthetics have been strongly influenced by her affiliation with poets of the Beat generation. How does the Beat tradition play out in the new century? Not through nostalgia or stylistic memorabilia, but an adherence to ethics of resistance, set in motion by Kyger and the poets whose circle she was part of. Indeed, in a poem with a mouthful of a title, 'I'm Very Busy Now So I Can't Answer All Those Questions About Beat Women Poets,' Kyger keeps up the searing legacy."--Jake Marmer, Chicago Tribune "Nearly a decade in the making, Kyger's much-anticipated new collection bursts with spontaneity, wit, and a delightful swiftness ... Though there are twinges of sorrow, they always appear with an irrepressible, almost self-deprecating humor ... Kyger never lacks for source material--"Everything' is poetry, animated, kicking its heels"--and in celebrating her own 'Mega-Maturity' she states that 'understanding the grief of passing with clarity gives every moment a monumental heart.'"--Publishers Weekly "As I consider our current moment, its global stipulations, and history's legacies, I return to [Joanne Kyger's] poems as they engage local environments next to their larger shapes and conditions. Attentive to breath and animated by perceptions, her poems turn on the signatures of voice and attend to time, place, being-ness, politics, the daily, myth, mystery, histories, and the natural world. Visually and aurally shapely, her lines mix tone and mood as they muse, inform, and record ... Always rich and provocative, On Time includes my favorite poem title ever: 'A Great Vampire Squid Is Wrapped Around The Face Of Humanity' (referencing journalist Taibbi's observation of Goldman Sachs). Other lines may pointedly question global violence 'Can you believe the amount of global war / we are more / than halfway into?' or consider the nature of time 'But when has the present ever been singular?' Whole poems may observe and offer a synthesis of the personal and the political, the local and the at-large."--Granta "The poems arrive presented in chronological order, forming a continuous tracking of Kyger's daily business, the regular affairs of her life transcribed into a transformational poetics. Her poems take advantage of what is commonplace, what's often seen as minor, the simpler seeming details of time's passage. 'Watching it all go by as if owned by no one,' ('Seeing the Old Year Out' December 30, 2012) Kyger weighs the ordinary spectacle with a lighthearted gravity that's nonetheless profound. Although, as she notes, 'This sounds like a simple improvisation / but actually it's composed' ('Permission by the Horns') her work is phenomenally focused upon exactly what is at hand."--Patrick James Dunagen "There's a deft and agile movement in these poems ... Born in 1934, Kyger is 80 something now, but on the evidence of On Time she is observant, thoughtful and though provoking as ever. She throws the notion of straight laced Buddhist out the window. Serious but with a mischievous smile."--Eric Jacobs, Beat Scene "What is at stake in the poems is more than the plums she's eating, or a dream in which Gary Snyder appears: it's a vigilant exploration of the nature of consciousness in which the particulars of experience--light filtering through the clouds, a neighbor's note, surfers waiting for waves--bridge the gap between inner and other worlds. Across six decades of writing, these careful attentions to consecutive moments collectively constitute a massive humanist document, of which On Time is the latest installment. Reading Kyger is not like reading about a life so much as perceiving what it's like to really live."--Dawn-Michelle Baude, Huffington Post "Re-reading it for the fifth or sixth time, I'm put in mind of what Allen Tate said of E.E. Cummings; that this is a poet with vision, who in a dehumanizing world takes us back to the roots of our humanity ... There's simply no other voice in contemporary poetry quite like hers. Nature literate, Buddhist-inflected, a veteran roadie who's seen some miles, this book is a treat, especially if, like her, you take delight in looking at birds and fauna: her observations train on sharp-shinned hawks, scrub jays, herons that eat gophers, flickers, song sparrows, and northern California's ubiquitous wavering eucalyptus."--Pacific Rim Review of Books
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About Joanne Kyger

One of the major women poets of the Beat Generation, Joanne Kyger was born in 1934 in Vallejo, CA. After studying at UC Santa Barbara, she moved to San Francisco in 1957, where she became a member of the circle of poets around Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan. In 1960, she and then-husband Gary Snyder traveled in Japan and India, where, along with Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky, they met the Dalai Lama. She returned to California in 1964 and settled in Bolinas in 1969, where she continues to reside today. She has published over 20 books of poetry and prose, including Strange Big Moon, The Japan and India Journals: 1960-1964 (North Atlantic, 2000), As Ever: Selected Poems (Penguin, 2002), and About Now: Collected Poems (National Poetry Foundation, 2007). She occasionally teaches at Naropa University.
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Rating details

40 ratings
3.82 out of 5 stars
5 35% (14)
4 35% (14)
3 12% (5)
2 12% (5)
1 5% (2)
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