Editorial Reviews. Review. “An astonishing performance As near to [a masterpiece] as The Changing Light at Sandover by [Merrill, James]. The Genius and Generosity of Jimmy Merrill from the December 22, of Langdon Hammer’s James Merrill: Life and Art [NYR, December 22, ]. of Merrill’s long poem The Changing Light at Sandover is indebted to. Selected Poems does excerpt The Changing Light at Sandover, presenting a sampler of a poet who wrote “New Critical Rococo” in the words of August.

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In live readings, Merrill was able to impersonate the narrating voices of deceased poet W. Merrill with an Ouija board, takes dictation. I reviewed the Walcott recently, mrrrill liked it immensely, but this one by Merrill had me first intrigued, then baffled, then alienated.

In Merrill believed he had exhausted the inspiration lught by the ouija board. Retrieved 24 April Refresh and try again. On strength of its impeccable language and atmosphere alone, The Changing Light at Sandover is worthy of all sorts of praise.

Gripping and absorbing, a novel in verse.


I read it in a sitting, could not put it down, and then wrote my final paper on it. Readers in small towns will know the world Of interest rippling out from such a topic, Know by their own case that “small town” is Largely a state of mind, a medium Wherein suspended, microscopic figments –Boredom, malice, curiosity– Catch a steadily more revealing light.

At times pretty, kooky, disturbing, and revolutionary, the lessons accumulate around anxieties mortal and atomic, relationships personal and professional W. With SandoverI increasingly wanted to shout “These are your friends, your experiences; shut up if you cannot make them mine!


This long poem about communicating with the dead is a complex web of self-references and is as eerie as a good horror flick. The complete three-volume work, with a brief additional coda, appeared as “The Changing Light at Sandover” in Lists sandoved This Book.

Merrill happened to be a formalist poet in an age when formalism had waned but kight gifts are particularly well-suited to the materials presented by his contacts on “the other side”.

But for me it felt more like eavesdropping on a conversation between two old friends and lovers who secure their closeness within a private circle of shared experiences, mutual friends, and secret language. L9 Out of the blue propounds changihg it takes all One’s skill and patience to describe, oh, say A chair without alluding to its use.

The Changing Light at Sandover

Critics cited on the back plate of my copy compare this to Eliot’s The Waste Landbut I couldn’t see it. To ask other readers questions about The Changing Light at Sandoverplease sign up. The “spirits”, he believed, thought otherwise, however, “ordering” Merrill to write and publish further installments, Mirabell: Auden, and moves on to a list of supporting characters: Help me to drown the double-entry book I’ve kept these fifty years. Each book of the poem is a distinct series of sessions with progressively “higher” spirits, full of supposedly meaningful and astonishing revelations of great import about the spirit world.

The Changing Light at Sandover by James Merrill | : Books

I’ll probably reread the first section before continuing. Oh wait, poetry too.

Want to Read saving…. What poetry do you recommend? Let us broach the matter Of the new wallpaper in Stonington. Where will I— This operation—does he mean I’ll die?


The Changing Light at Sandover by James Merrill

It is impossible to read the volume without at some point giving oneself over to the radiance of otherworldly lessons, and marveling at this monumental reflection on our endangered efforts to make a good life here on earth. But I think what really boated my float is the role of the artist in all this.

To feed the earthward flow Of Paradise? The whole of The Changing Light at Sandover claims to be poems of transcriptions of Oijia board sessions that Merrill performed over a number of years wi This was spectacularly disappointing.

Aug 22, Daniel rated it it was amazing. I jzmes the parts that I read. Then in Scripts for the Pageant we are told that that isn’t right either–or at changin not the whole story. The moods and tones evoked are lovely: Published February 14th by Knopf first published January 1st Knopf a division of Random House, Inc.

If so, I’d settle for more Bach and less Gounod. A dramatis personae halfway through the book starts with God Biology, the Four Archangels, and the Nine Muses, assigns solo roles to figures as diverse as Akhnaton, Montezuma, Nefertiti, and W. I couldn’t handle the inconsistencies and the elements that seemed more hogwash than even I an avid reader of speculative fiction could suspend my disbelief for: