Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems

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First edition

Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems is a book of poems written by Eli Siegel, founder of the philosophy of Aesthetic Realism. Definition Press, who printed it, is the publishing arm of the Aesthetic Realism Foundation. The book was one of 13 finalists in the poetry category of the National Book Award in 1958.

The title poem begins this way:

Quiet and green was the grass of the field,
The sky was whole in brightness,
And O, a bird was flying, high, there in the sky,
So gently, so carelessly and fairly.
Here, once, Indians shouted in battle,
And moaned after it.
Here were cries, yells, night, and the moon over these men,
And the men making the cries and yells; it was
Hundreds of years ago, when monks were in Europe,
Monks in cool, black monasteries, thinking of God, studying Virgil...

For the full text of this poem see

William Carlos Williams wrote of the poetry soon to be published in this volume, "I can't tell you how important Siegel's work is in the light of my present understanding of the modern poem. He belongs in the very first rank of our living artists." See full text of Williams' 1951 letter.

In the Saturday Review Selden Rodman wrote, "He comes up with poems like 'Dear Birds, Tell This to Mothers,' 'She's Crazy and It Means Something,' and 'The World of the Unwashed Dish' which say more (and more movingly) about here and now than any contemporary poems I have read." See full text of Rodman's 1957 review.

  • Eli Siegel. Hot Afternoons Have Been in Montana: Poems. Definition Press: New York, 1958.