The Want Bone, Robert Pinsky’s fourth volume of poems, marks a departure for the fifty-year-old poet. Where his earlier poems are mostly occasional pieces dealing with the paraphernalia of everyday life—tennis, psychiatrists, and scenes from Pinsky’s hometown on the New Jersey shore are typical subjects—the poems collected here all explore a single theme, the theme of desire. Ranging widely over the field of human yearning, Pinsky writes of what it is to want. He is fascinated by the ardent source of our endeavors—the “glittering / Zodiac of intentions” that animates everything we do. Pinsky’s earlier collections—Sadness and Happiness (1975), An Explanation of America (1979), and History of My Heart (1984) —were not bound together thematically in this way.

Yet however governed The Want Bone is...

Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.
Popular Right Now