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Earth Apples: The Poetry of Edward Abbey (1994)

This is the only collection of Edward Abbey's poetry that has ever been or will ever be published. It is edited by David Petersen, who was a friend of Abbey and now also literary editor of the Abbey estate.

The collection is "not proffered as great poetry, but rather, offered as a revealing and entertaining insight into the mind and emotions of a great contemporary novelist and essayist, a great man."


This book contains original artwork by Michael McCurdy. Michael has kindly allowed us to display most of the drawings here. More art can be seen at his homepage.

Click on any of these small images to view it in full size:



Book I
Poems for Judy

Book II

Book III
Notes & Illuminations
from a Burning Book

Book IV
Love's Bawdy

Book V
Desert Music


Cover text

The only collection of Edward Abbey's poetry that has ever been or will ever be published.

"I don't see how poetry can ever be easy... Real poetry, the thick, dense, intense, complicated stuff that lives and endures, requires blood sweat; blood and sweat are essential elements in poetry as well as behind it." - Edward Abbey

"This collection carries Abbey's voice, his eye for significant detail, his humor, his lust for life, and his anger at all who would destroy or succumb. In his poetry, as in his novels and essays, Abbey was a man of passions. He, loneliness, rage, regret, despair, joy, and hope." - poet Leonard Bird, on Earth Apples

(on inner flaps:)
Edward Abbey continues to grow in stature as one of America's funniest and most profound twentieth-century writers. Brooding, iconoclastic, prophetic, Abbey was principally known as a prose writer, the author of such legendary works as The Monkey Wrench Gang, Desert Solitaire, and The Brave Cowboy.

Although Abbey rarely published his poetry, he was, unbeknownst to his loyal and often fanatical public, a passionate producer of verse, and these seventy-one original poems - never before published in any form (although several were rejected by the leading magazines of the nation) - offer an insightful and wrenching look into the mind of this great man known to some as "Cactus Ed." To read these poems, all written between 1952 and 1989, and culled from his Journals, is to feel the ineffable, irrefutable essence of Edward Abbey. The poems frequently alternate between the joy and pain that marked his life, and all brandish his immutable character and nonconformity.

Whether writing about his love of wild doves, his unadulterated hatred of New York City, or his fondness of bawdy women, Abbey was unapologetically passionate - and these poems will only add to his literary reputation and mythic nature.

Not bad for a spud-digging farm boy out of rural Pennsylvania.


"These works -- most of the culled from Abbey's journals -- often show Cactus Ed's verse to be overblown [...], plain silly [...], or both. Editor Petersen stresses that the collection "is not proffered as great poetry." Yet even though Earth Apples does offer some glimpses into Abbey's anti-urbanism and his anger, which seemed to wear as many colors as a rainbow, not proffering the poems at all might have been a better idea. In this as in his life, if we can forgive Abbey his juvenilia and focus on his social and political impact, then his image does begin to burnish a bit like the desert itself." -- Miles Harvey, Outside


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Library of Congress Data

Abbey, Edward, 1927-
  Earth apples = (Pommes des terre) : the poetry of Edward Abbey / collected
and introduced by David Peterson ; illustrations by Michael McCurdy.  New York
: St. Martin's Press, 1994.  p. cm.



  Peterson, David, 1946-
  Abbey, Edward, 1927- Pommes des terres.
  Earth apples.
  Pommes des terres.

DEWEY DEC:  811/.54 dc20

ISBN:  0312112653 : $14.95
LCCN:  94-12801

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