Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Cover image

Honest Water
Robert Farnsworth

Wesleyan Poetry Series

1990 • 72 pp. 5 x 8 1/2"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-1169-0

Meditative and musical poetry.

Robert Farnsworth has sought to write poems that “simultaneously think and sing.” His poems are meditative and musical with measured pace. The landscape of northern New England, “the Atlantic’s edge,” is central to the vision of this book. It becomes a living phenomenon with human qualities: “honest water”; “strong water”; a landscape that has “diminished and forgiven him.” He writes sometimes in melancholy about human affairs: “a common durable sadness,” “a language of loss, of everything unassuaged,” “a thousand discouragements,” “the underwater light/that comes before a storm.” And often of quiet memory, “imagination’s tender lens,” and of anticipation, “the love your empty dress is promising.” Honest Water is a book of steadily evolving power.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Farnsworth has the ability to come to experience immediately as a first cause—with potential for both argument and narrative—and to create resonance without sacrificing the rational. It’s a rare poet who can think through the emotion of an experience and allow that process a full hearing, in a language of wit and discovery… I can’t think of another young poet so capable, at once, of conviction and irony and sustained interest in the imagination.”—Stanley Plumly

“Farnsworth’s formidable descriptive powers alone would recommend his poems to us but it’s what he builds from observation—a vision, as we like to say—that distinguishes this extraordinary book”—William Matthews

ROBERT FARNSWORTH is a visiting assistant professor of English at Colby College. He has taught at Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, and SUNY Binghamton and was an instructor for the New York State Poets in the Schools Program and for the Art Without Walls program at the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island. A graduate of Brown University (B.A. 1976) and Columbia University (M.F.A. 1979), Farnsworth has also served as assistant poetry editor of Antaeus and worked as a bookseller in Ithaca. He was awarded an NEA grant for 1989-90. His home is in Lewiston, Maine.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:01:33 -0500