Editorial Reviews. Review. “An astonishing performance As near to [a masterpiece] as The Changing Light at Sandover by [Merrill, James]. The Genius and Generosity of Jimmy Merrill from the December 22, of Langdon Hammer’s James Merrill: Life and Art [NYR, December 22, ]. of Merrill’s long poem The Changing Light at Sandover is indebted to. Selected Poems does excerpt The Changing Light at Sandover, presenting a sampler of a poet who wrote “New Critical Rococo” in the words of August.

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Merrill happened to be a formalist poet in an age when formalism had waned but his gifts are particularly well-suited to the materials presented by his contacts on “the I have little love for epic poetry as a form but this book has converted me.

And where, we wondered to the void, Was Tiberius these days? Return to Book Page. In live readings, Merrill was able to impersonate the narrating voices of deceased poet W.

The Changing Light at Sandover | Knopf Doubleday

It is impossible to read the volume without at some point giving oneself over to the radiance of otherworldly lessons, and marveling at merroll monumental reflection on our endangered efforts lifht make a good life here on earth. And they ours–whose post-mortems keep Us from if not the devil then the deep Blue silences which D and I might tend Dully to sink into, at lesson’s end. This long poem about communicating with the dead is a complex web of self-references and is as eerie as a good horror flick.

Help me to drown the double-entry book I’ve kept these fifty years. Views Read Edit View history.

How should you speak? An epic poem about a long term gay couple and the spirits of the dead they speak to with a Ouija board.


mrrill Both Merrill and Walcott stretch out to other centuries and continents in their writing, but there is a difference. But really, if I were to recommend this it would be first and foremost on the basis that there is nothing else like it. Merrill happened to be a formalist poet in an age when formalism had waned but his gifts are particularly well-suited to the materials presented by his contacts on “the other side”.

In Mirabell’s Book of Number a different guide generates numerically-organized poems dealing with such subjects as the atom bomb and DNA, as well as the continued life, personal traumas, and European travels of Merrill and Jackson.

The hobby soon became an obsession and this is the epic result-a book, supposedly dictated by disembodied spirits. I slammed into a wall in the middle of this, and kind of gave up on it. Auden, and moves on to a list of supporting characters: His poetry is dense, cyclical, sandovef, and at times deliberately aloof. Then in Mirabell we are told, no, that’s wrong, actually those levels are “the Bureaucracy” where the “Lab souls”–souls specially engineered for “densities” are stored when their lives are done and “mined” for “densities” for future lab souls in a quest to perfect human souls.

The Changing Light at Sandover contains a multitude of voices, perspectives, and motives. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The way forward is not settling into certainty but tempering for more transmission. See 1 question about The Changing Light at Sandover…. Retrieved from ” https: Jan 16, Terence Manleigh rated it it was amazing Shelves: Critics cited on the back plate of my copy compare this to Eliot’s The Waste Landbut I couldn’t see it.

The Changing Light at Sandover

Then in Scripts for the Pageant we are told that that isn’t right either–or at least not the whole story. Writer Merrilp Luriea longtime friend of Merrill and Jackson, described her feelings about the creative genesis of the poem in her memoir Familiar Spirits Merrill, though, is the name-dropper par excellence, with a multitude of figures, real and mythological, dead and alive, dropping in and out to deliver obiter dicta or engage in casual chat.


Merrrill craft just garners this three stars given its lack of brilliant moments but the merrrill problems and my inability to pull any scrap of large thematic meaning out of the work which could very well be me, and not a lack in the poem kept it from going any higher from the instant I began Mirabell. The “spirits”, he believed, thought otherwise, however, “ordering” Merrill to write and publish further installments, Mirabell: With OmerosI felt exhilarated, expanded, embraced.

James Merrill is one of the best poets of the late 20th century.

The Changing Light at Sandover by James Merrill

Each book of the poem is a distinct series of sessions with progressively “higher” spirits, full of supposedly meaningful and astonishing revelations of great import about the spirit world. To feed the earthward flow Of Paradise? Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

Already established in the s among the finest poets of his generation, Merrill made a surprising detour when he began incorporating occult messages into his work. Dec 18, Lois Cantwell rated it it was amazing.

I couldn’t handle the inconsistencies and the elements that seemed more hogwash than even I an avid reader of speculative fiction could suspend my disbelief for: