Ravenna Diagram Volume III by Henry Gould


This is the third and final volume 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, Ezra Pound, 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 – juxtaposing Dante’s spiritual “vertical” with the vast  “horizontal” of colloquial, pilgrim American time and space.

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  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 448
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: July, 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-90-9


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



America is the greatest poem,
Walter Whitman wrote.
After the gun, the vote
& gunboat diplomacy… hums home.

Beneath sea to shining sea
lies middle C : a note
on the grand baby boat
between red & blue (for harmony).

Purple mountains’ majesty,
inverted in a mirror
lake – not so Superior
this time, but simple, free.

So must our dream end in despair?
The first inhabitants
ordered the elements
on thankful tables – mysterious share

from Wakan Tanka (Thunderbird).
The greatest poem hums
beneath war drums,
discordant malice, noisy fraud;

it is the sound of the earth itself
awash with slow rivers,
where Jonah hovers
in her dove-canoe – a constant Alph

down to zydeco Cajun Zee.
America, l’âme
riche, la mer
coo-cawing in cloud-thunder tree.



Henry GouldHenry Gould, a Minneapolis native, recently returned to Minnesota after 45 years in Rhode Island.  His poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in various journals.  His books include Stone (Copper Beech Press, 1979), Stubborn Grew (Spuyten Duyvil, 2000), and Ravenna Diagram, vols. I-II (Dos Madres, 2018).  For 10 years he co-edited (with Janet Sullivan) the Rhode Island literary magazine Nedge; he also edited and published a selected poems of poet and translator Edwin Honig (Time & Again : Poems 1940-1997).

Additional information

Weight 28.2 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1.25 in