The Branch Will Not Break by James Wright

The Branch Will Not Break

In celebration of fifty years of publishing, Wesleyan University Press is pleased to present a special miniature edition of this best-selling volume of poetry by James Wright. Originally published in 1963, The Branch Will Not Break was one of the first volumes of poetry published by Wesleyan. The entire book is reproduced in this appealing small format.

Details The Branch Will Not Break

TitleThe Branch Will Not Break
Release DateJul 30th, 1963
GenrePoetry, Literature, American

Reviews The Branch Will Not Break

  • Bill Kerwin
    “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” When I first heard this Emily Dickinson quote, I knew exactly what she meant. After all, I had read The Branch Will Not Break when I was eighteen.It was 1967. I was already writing verse--very bad verse--and immersing myself in Frost, Pound and Stevens, but the wonders of the poems in Wright's third collection were a revelation to me. Sure, some reminded me...
  • Jeremy Heartberg
    I know this book like I know my burned copy of 'August and Everything After'. "Suddenly I realizeThat if I stepped out of my body I would breakInto Blossom"Perfect.
  • David Gallagher
    Nature poetry - I somehow never cared for it. But even Wordsworth would be a Wright fan. Poetry should be felt; not read. And boy, do you feel this.
  • Maya
    James Wright makes me want to lick the pages. "I have wasted my life."
  • Kevin Lawrence
    I have just re-read this collection. I am thinking that if ever there were one volume where you could register the break from an Audenesque intelligent formalism to a free-spirited (yes, 60s!) almost-Chinese use of images in an American mode: this is the book! I think it is high-time for a James Wright reevaluation in the American poetry tradition (ignoring his son's work for maybe a decade or so....)
  • Margaret
    After reading The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright in grad school, I decided I wanted to read James Wright's poetry (already being a fan of Leslie Marmon Silko). However, it's been about four years, and I'm just now reading one of his collections. That's what happens when you have hundreds of books picked up in exactly the same way. I can only read so many!But last night I was in the poetry mood,...
  • Nicola
    Another book I can't not give five stars to despite certain reservations upon rereading it. This was one of the poetry collections that made me, as an undergrad, want to become a poet. Now, fast-forward roughly ten years, and I find it a bit rarefied, too delicate, passive, and morose. I did start to question how many times a poet can get away with writing "dark" in a poem, and was reminded of what poet Steve Orlen once said to a classmate of min...
  • Jsavett1
    This collection of poems gets stronger as it proceeds until it crescendos in spiritual succor. I have so many words and phrases underlined that I might as well not have underlined any...for instance, in "A Blessing" Wright describes standing before a wild horse in the darkness as "a light breeze moves me to caress her long ear/that is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist./Suddenly I realize/that if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into ...
  • Darrell
    Short, brief poems that have spectacular build up and endings. In this collection there is Wright's famous poem, "A Blessing" near the end of the book; however, what I find really strong with the book is the definitions of terms built up so "dark" means another thing, as of other seemingly innocuous words like "friend" or "mare." Aside for "A Blessing" there are a lot of strong poems which I feel could be read individually as well as part of a co...
  • Helen
    James Wright's poetry is like a beautiful hallucination. You think when you read A Blessing in school, that beautiful ending line about breaking out into blossom, and you think that's as good as it gets. But it gets better. Or, just as good. With some not so good ones thrown in, but there aren't an awful lot of those. And the titles, the titles are great! Who writes a poem and calls it" Today I was So Happy, So I Made This Poem"? Takes guts. No o...
  • Jada
    I'm not the hugest fan of poetry, but I'm taking a poetry class and this was one of the collections we're reading. I read through it in about twenty minutes, mostly because the author is from around where I live and I wanted to see what he wrote about. That said, I actually liked it. I'm not the best at deciphering what is being said in poetry, but this collection was pretty easy to breeze through and I didn't have too much difficulty with it. I ...
  • Andrew
    One of the great books of American poetry. I don't know why it took me so long to make my way to James Wright, but don't make my mistake--read him today!Wright is, not inaccurately, categorized as a pastoral poet, but what delighted me about so many of the poems in The Branch Will Not Break was the easy confluence of industrial, agricultural, and bucolic scenes and images. It provides an accurate and stirring vision of the way these different mod...
  •  Barb Bailey
    I bought this slim volume of poetry months ago because of its high rating on Goodreads. On the jacket of the book it says it should be read at least 3X s and then maybe once a month of as long as one lives. The first time I tried to read it....I was not impressed.....did not get the couple poems I read and set it aside. I decided to try it again.....and really liked it. Most of the poems are simple and elegant . The third time I've read
  • Scar
    It may be admitting my ignorance, but I didn't really understand most of this poetry. Some had rhyme and most had some structure, many portrayed an emotion somehow, but I could not understand his meaning. Was it all metaphors above my head? Having read it all in one sitting aloud and alone, I began to enjoy it more, but understanding still the same. I would love an intellectual discussion group to dissect it and debate possible meanings.
  • Nancy
    the football poem..
  • Caitlin
    I didn't get it.I've had this on my TBR for two or more years, having added it in a fit of "I should read more poetry" and then, of course not reading it because... poetry (an also because it took an academic library to have a copy of it for me to peruse.)Put this on the pile of poetry I don't understand the big deal about. There were a few great phrases here and there but altogether it fell flat for me. IDK, I'm not a poetry critic or anything. ...
  • Brian Wasserman
    So Ive reconsidered James Wright. I dont care about some of the pretense, whether he has read Goethe or Sappho, which says little about him as writer.. maybe more about him trying to pander to critics. The best poems are the ones without allusion, the taut nature poems. You definitely sense some ideological kinship with Merwin, the sense of deeper image, nature interpreted with a religious magniscope at a speed that few can muster, he has seen ma...
  • Tony
    One of the best poetry books of the 20th century. Wright learned the surreal image from Trakl and Vallejo and others, and joined it to the personal elegiac tone of the classical Chinese poets and came up with a profoundly beautiful and emotional poetry that captured well the rust belt despair of Ohio. It's a great book for young poets to read in order to think through how to order a book of poems.
  • Zoe
    Wow, just... Wow. This was much more heavy on local references, which I loved. James Wright has an incredible talent for writing poems that are mystical and earthy all at once. And the context of the title's quote is just wonderful. Highlights: How My Fever Left, Two Hangovers, A Blessing, American Wedding."Suddenly I realizeThat if I stepped out of my body I would breakInto blossom."--A Blessing.
  • Heather
    It's hard to move this book from "currently reading" to "read," because from the moment I picked this book up, I've been reading it. It's like my poetry security blanket (which I once said about Ralph Angel, so to him I apologize for having "replaced" him... I like to think of Wrigh and Angel as Doggy and Dolly, my little dog and blanket puppet I carried around until I was 6 or 7. One is not enough.) A wonderful collection that everyone and anyon...
  • Brian
    Some of these are among the most excellent poems I've ever read, and some are among that overhyped pantheon of Robert Frost nature introspection that makes much popular contemporary American poetry so dull. It's almost as though the poet stumbles upon greatness accidentally, but really I think it's more the case that he wasted his talents on words already written to death about New Hampshire.
  • Josh
    I'm adding a new shelf called 'i-dont-get-it' for stuff like this. For the books that I can technically mark as 'read'--in the fact that I read the words that were written down on all of the pages page--but that I just wasn't able to arrange in my head in any meaningful order. Know that any star ratings for books on this shelf can and should be ignored. Expect this shelf to fill up quickly.
  • Benjamin Champagne
    Probably my absolute favorite book of poems. Should be required reading for anyone from small cities that are suffering from lack of industrialization or modernization. He was trained by Roethke from Saginaw too and there are some elements of that in there. Title poem is probably my favorite, but others from the book are more famous.
  • Lindsey
    Favorites: "As I Step Over a Puddle at the End of Winter, I Think of an Ancient Chinese Governor," "Lying on a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota," "Two Horses Playing in a Field," "Rain," "Today I Was Happy, So I Made This Poem," and "Milkweed."
  • Beth
    A beautiful mosaic of the triumphs and failings of the American Dream. There are definitely stand out pieces but read as a whole it is an incredible experience.
  • Bpaul
    One of my favorite books of poetry.
  • Michael Poage
    This is a classic!!
  • Adam
    This book changed my life. It is by far my favorite work. Period.
  • Judith Angeles
    I really enjoy these poems. They were silent poems. Spiritual... Will say more about this at a later time...
  • Michael
    Read it every week. One of the best books of poetry ever published.