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American Melancholy from author Joyce Carol Oates is the latest book to be checked off my to be read list, that never seems to stop growing. This is a collection of poems, her first in over twenty five years.
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Have you read American Melancholy? Come on in and let me tell you about it!
About American Melancholy
A new collection of poetry from an American literary legend, her first in twenty-five years
Joyce Carol Oates is one of our most insightful observers of the human heart and mind, and, with her acute social consciousness, one of the most insistent and inspired witnesses of a shared American history.
Oates is perhaps best known for her prodigious output of novels and short stories, many of which have become contemporary classics. However, Oates has also always been a faithful writer of poetry. American Melancholy showcases some of her finest work of the last few decades.
Covering subjects big and small, and written in an immediate and engaging style, this collection touches on both the personal and political. Loss, love, and memory are investigated, along with the upheavals of our modern age, the reality of our current predicaments, and the ravages of poverty, racism, and social unrest. Oates skillfully writes characters ranging from a former doctor at a Chinese People’s Liberation Army hospital to Little Albert, a six-month-old infant who took part in a famous study that revealed evidence of classical conditioning in human beings.
Thoughts on American Melancholy
I have been reading Joyce Carol Oates books since I was in high school, starting with We Were the Mulvaneys. Her writing has always spoken to me, even at such a young age. I’m slowly working my way through a lot of her books again since I’ve started this blog, and she is a repeat author here.
Take you where
You didn’t want to go.
Where you’d been
And had passed smilingly through,
And were alive. Then.”Joyce Carol Oates, American Melancholy
I had never read any of her poems before, so this was a brand new experience, and one that I’m very glad to have had. Joyce Carol Oates has a talent for writing in a wide variety of ways, and it speaks to some and others, not so much.
The two that spoke the most to me were called “Doctor Help Me” and “Palliative.” These two both made me take the time to think about social issues, but also mortality. I’m definitely not getting any younger, and Palliative hit me right in the feels.
The “Harvesting Skin” poem was dark and very creepy. But even the ones I wasn’t necessarily a fan of made me think about them, and I appreciate that.
I’m not a fan of flat writing where I don’t feel anything after I’ve read it. I can drive down the street and read stop signs for that. I have a firm belief that I don’t have to like something to appreciate the talent it takes to write it or the fact it got me thinking, and that is how I felt about all of her poems. The ones I didn’t relate to still made me stop and think, and have stuck with me.
That is what makes a great writer, in my opinion. I’m very glad that Joyce Carol Oates published this book of poems, and I really hope it isn’t another twenty five years before she publishes more. I appreciate the range in which Joyce Carol Oates can write. She never disappoints, that is for sure.
Final Thoughts on American Melancholy
American Melancholy made me want to go searching for more poetry from Joyce Carol Oates. A great author is one who makes me want more, makes me emotional, and gets me thinking about what they wrote. I felt all of these when I was finished with American Melancholy.
I highly recommend giving American Melancholy from Joyce Carol Oates a read. Her writing has never disappointed me, and this was no exception to that. I’m inspired to go and binge read some of my other favorites that she has written.
Have you read American Melancholy or any other writing from author Joyce Carol Oates? Are you a fan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde.
Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.
Purchasing American Melancholy
If you are interested in buying the Hardcover version of American Melancholy, click here.
Click here for the Kindle version.
Click here for my favorite Kindle I currently own.
More from Joyce Carol Oates
Did you enjoy my review of American Melancholy? Are you looking for another great read from Joyce Carol Oates? Here are some of my favorites!
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