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Stealing Sugar from the Castle

Selected and New Poems, 1950–2013

Robert Bly (Author)


“[Robert Bly] is . . . the most recent in a line of great American transcendentalist writers.”—New York Times

Selected from throughout Robert Bly’s monumental body of work from 1950 through the present, Stealing Sugar from the Castle represents the culmination of an astonishing career in American letters.

Bly has long been the voice of transcendentalism and meditative mysticism for his generation. Influenced by Emerson and Thoreau, inspired by spiritual traditions from Sufism to Gnosticism, his vision is “oracular” (Antioch Review). From the rich, earthy simplicity of Silence in the Snowy Fields (1962) to the wild yet intricately formal ghazals of My Sentence Was a Thousand Years of Joy (2005) and the striking richness and authority of Talking into the Ear of a Donkey (2011), Bly’s poetry is spiritual yet worldly, celebrating the uncanny beauty of the everyday. “I am happy, / The moon rising above the turkey sheds. // The small world of the car / Plunges through the deep fields of the night,” he writes in “Driving Toward the Lac Qui Parle River.” Here is a poet moved by the mysteries of the world around him, speaking the language of images in a voice brilliant and bold.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • February 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35248-1
  • 5.6 × 8.3 in / 400 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Here is the essential Robert Bly, ‘a man in love with the setting stars,’ a dark transcendentalist, a troublemaker, a mourner who keeps seeing the walls splashed with blood, a singer of boundless mysteries, imagination’s keeper, a witness to joy. He has been lighting up American poetry for more than sixty years.” — Edward Hirsch

“[T]his selection indelibly presents Bly as the great successor to Whitman and Pound, with neither the smarmy bonhomie of the former or the captiousness of the latter…. His labor and delight, early and late, is now clearly shown to be the demonstration that all human and nonhuman lives, contexts, and relations are linked by metaphor, that odd mode of understanding by psychological projection and sensory imagination. Like the deathbed edition of Leaves of Grass, this collection is a monument, not to self but to us.” — Booklist, Starred Review

“Playful, strange and simultaneously startling… Bly’s poetry prizes the imagination for its irrationality, which can take us to beautiful and unexpected places.” — Elizabeth Hoover, Star Tribune

Also by Robert Bly All

  1. Book CoverCollected Poems


  2. Book CoverTalking Into the Ear of a Donkey: Poems


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