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Cover for Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey

Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey


Robert Bly


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (5/23/2011)


“The kind of volume anyone should read for the exquisite pleasure of encountering poetry completely under its creator’s tremendous control.”—The Rumpus

In his richest and most varied collection of poems to date, Robert Bly mines lifelong fascination with poetic form. The poems in Talking into the Ear of a Donkey range from free verse to Bly’s uniquely American version of the famous ghazal form. In the title poem, Bly addresses the “donkey”—possibly poetry itself—which has carried him through a writing life of more than six decades:

from "Talking into the Ear of a Donkey"

      "What has happened to the spring,"

      I cry, "and our legs that were so joyful

      In the bobblings of April?" "Oh, never mind

      About all that," the donkey

      Says. "Just take hold of my mane, so you

      Can lift your lips closer to my hairy ears."

Praise For Talking Into the Ear of a Donkey: Poems

The clear diction of Talking into the Ear of a Donkey makes accessible its transcendental themes, including the wisdom of the animal world and the spiritual connection between humankind and nature. . . . [Bly’s] poems, while spiritual, celebrate the worldly delights: shining fish, giant moose and bird song.

— Minneapolis Star-Tribune

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393343649, 112pp.

Publication Date: November 5, 2012

About the Author

Robert Bly (1926—2021) was the author of numerous poetry volumes, as well as works of nonfiction and translation. His honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal and the National Book Award.