Written by Frank Bidart
Publication Date May 18, 2013
Shortlisted for the National Book Award, and selected for The Globe Books 100 and New York Times 100 Most Noteable Books in 2013.
In a career-defining work, Frank Bidart brings us everything that makes him so remarkable in these indelible poems of sex, art, desire, and beauty.
In "Those Nights" Frank Bidart writes: "We who could get / somewhere through / words through / sex could not." Words and sex, art and flesh: in Metaphysical Dog, Bidart explores their nexus. The result stands among this deeply adventurous poet’s most powerful and achieved work, an emotionally naked, fearlessly candid journey through many of the central axes, the central conflicts of his life, and ours.
Near the end of the book, Bidart writes: "In adolescence, you thought your work ancient work: to decipher at last human beings’ relation to God. Decipher love. To make what was once whole whole again: or to see why it never should have been thought whole." This "ancient work" reflects what the poet sees as fundamental in human feeling, what psychologists and mystics have called the "hunger for the Absolute" — a hunger as fundamental as any physical hunger. This hunger must confront the elusiveness of the Absolute, our self-deluding, failed glimpses of it.
The result is one of the most fascinating and ambitious books of poetry in many years.
Short-listed for the National Book Award 2013
Selected for the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books 2013
Selected for the New York Times Top 100 Noteable Books 2013
Frank Bidart’s most recent full-length collections of poetry are Watching the Spring Festival, Star Dust, Desire, and In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90, all published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has won many prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award, and, most recently, the 2007 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. He teaches at Wellesley College.
"The poems of Metaphysical Dog are at once emotionally bracing and full of intellectual reward." Publishers Weekly
"Frank Bidart is one of the true living masters of contemporary poetry: His unwaveringly intense inward gaze... is revered by poets and readers alike." NPR
"My favourite book of the spring – and likely of many springs to come." Globe and Mail
"“Metaphysical Dog” is a burning and poignant read chock-full of lengthy prose to short, forceful pieces. As the collection has proved, time and time again, Bidart has continued to maintain his status as a prolific, unstoppable wordsmith." Times Leader
"Bidart writes through passion, but also through subtraction, leaving out all but the statements that seem essential to the soul, the desire, the wisdom or the memory at hand. The results, however austere, can be revelations: his poems are doors best opened with cautious attention — behind them you might even see yourself." The New York Times