Collected Poems--Paul Auster
Auster is my favorite novelist, so I was thrilled to read this comprehensive volume of his prose, musings, notes, and translations of philosopy. As with most of his work, mystery and logic interplay with a stark yet remarkably lyrical style. He has a sharp and clear vision of topics, issues, and events with complex, myriad layers of emotion and meaning as if he were a "puzzle master" of the human experience. Auster plays with the theme of chance vs. fate--which pervades his later work--early in this volume, so it was fascinating to see the origins of his obsession--and the genesis of his singular style--unveiled in his early work. Note: Please read introduction first, as it covers key events in the author's life--and the soci-political climate of the 60's--that had a long term and significant impact on his work and the evolution of his career. Reading about his deep knowledge of philosophy also helped me re-examine my own fascination with his work.
While many of his poems address haunting issues, images of vast emptiness, inner wards, and inexplicable "disappearances," he also explores deep yearnings for--and questions about--love. If you haven't read his novels, you may want to start with the stunning New York Trilogy, a triptych of 3 novellas that are masterfully inter-related.