Ravenna Diagram Volume II by Henry Gould


This is volume two of Ravenna Diagram, a long poem which follows in the vein of Leaves of Grass, The Bridge, Paterson, The Cantos, “A”, and The Maximus Poems.  It is an attempt to come to new terms with old epic and visionary traditions, epitomized by Dante and Milton, and carried on by Hart Crane, H.D., Louis Zukofsky, Jay Wright and others.  The poet aims to take up the primordial challenge of bridging heaven and earth, the spiritual and temporal, in a new voice.  There is a special affinity with the Acmeist movement of Russian poetry and Osip Mandelstam – tracing to Dante, toward the end of his life, in Ravenna, completing his Divina Commedia under the clear shadows of Eastern Orthodox mosaics.  But this is an American poem, and a work-in-progress – juxtaposing Dante’s spiritual “vertical” with the vast  “horizontal” of colloquial American time and space.

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  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 382
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: November, 2018
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-14-5


Praise for Ravenna Diagram volume one:

This is an extraordinary poetry. Classical and avant-garde. Delicate and extreme. Full of planetary music, important signal from the Milky Way. —Grzegorz Wróblewski

Using the most bardic of forms (his “flinty path from the old song”), Henry Gould writes in, through, and beyond poetic tradition. “It Must Give Pleasure,” Wallace Stevens told us, and Gould paid attention. Ravenna Diagram is a rich, expansive, radically inclusive love letter to the natural world, to poetry, to the strange joy of shaping experience. —Kathleen Ossip 

Ravenna Diagram etches a remarkably sustained act of imaginative musicality that masques its aspirations as a dynamic spiritual investigation.  In these elegant quatrains everything is given expression, everything is encompassed. —Patrick Pritchett

Alight and turn body and soul toward this rare and entirely singular collection. Inside its rich lattice of haunting loss – a silver-footed Beatrice, and intuition couples to its sequitur – insight, all phosphoresce in Ravenna Diagram. Germane within this planetarium, nearing the horizon of each page, discover an ace and an intimate pillow of dreams in concert with Gould’s bewitching interplay of dignity and purpose. —Lissa Wolsak

In the love that moves everything, which is also the final goal of Gould’s extraordinary poem, driven by memories of a dead cousin, Juliet, by Pound’s prompting to make things cohere, by the riven, unfinished history of America, a vision of justice not fully achieved, Ravenna Diagram finds a resolution. –Billy Mills, Elliptical Movements

The poetry of Henry Gould is not for the faint of heart, it is a poetry you must work for, a poetry akin to Hart Crane and Ezra Pound in its intricacies, deeply lyrical and panoramic. —Reyes Cardenas



I’ve spun a zigzag ziggurat
not made with hands, muttered
Oblomov-Hobo – squared
round Galilee with palmy lariat

lime-green & violet. With Okeanos
built a pineland font,
a Big Rook Candle Mint
that floats majestic Liberty to Rus

by U.S. Forest Service (Lincoln
would). There’s still life
in a copper penny, if
you’re willing to be leaf – we can.

Disenchanted materialists
unlock a spiny Jenny
idle now for many –
Berkeley’s little tree twists

like Atlantic rotor, like Bermuda
paddleboat… clap hands
& sing, who understands!
A dream – dream-songe (Ojibwa)!

Great Manitou be Hole-in-the-Sky now,
mind – love’s apple-tree
a laurel (Victory).
She beams from the heart of Notre

Dame, my voyageur, extending her
green crystalline moss-
copper palm of sobornost –
Rhodos-Colossus 56 (soul harbor).



Henry GouldHenry Gould’s poems, essays and reviews have appeared in various journals. He maintains a poetry website called HG Poetics (hgpoetics.blogspot.com). His books include Stone (Copper Beech Press, 1979) and Stubborn Grew (Spuyten Duyvil, 2000); he also co-edited an anthology in honor of poet and scholar Edwin Honig, titled A Glass of Green Tea – With Honig (1994, distr. by Fordham U.P.), and edited a volume of Honig’s collected poems, Time & Again, Poems 1940-1997 (XLibris). After living for many years in Providence, RI, he recently returned to his hometown, Minneapolis.

Additional information

Weight 25 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1.25 in