Collected Poetry and Prose
Harmonium • Ideas of Order • The Man with the Blue Guitar • Parts of a World • Transport to Summer •
The Auroras of Autumn • The Rock • uncollected poems • plays, essays, journal selections, and letters
"Undoubtedly, the single finest collection of Wallace Stevens ever produced."
Wallace Stevens's unique voice combined meditative speculation and what he called "the essential gaudiness of poetry" in a body of work of astonishing profusion and exuberance, poems that have remained an inspiration and influence for generations of poets and readers. Now, for the first time, the works of America's supreme poet of the imagination are collected in one authoritative Library of America volume.
Here are all of Stevens's published books of poetry, side-by-side for the first time with the haunting lyrics of his later years and early work that traces the development of his art. From the rococo inventiveness of Harmonium, his first volume (including such classics as "Sunday Morning" and "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"), through "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction," "Esthétique du Mal," "The Auroras of Autumn," and the other large-scale masterpieces of his middle years, to the austere final poems of "The Rock," Stevens's poetry explores with unrelenting intensity the relation between the world and the human imagination, between nature as found and nature as invented, and the ways poetry mediates between them. The volume presents over ninety poems uncollected by Stevens, including early versions of often-discussed works like "The Comedian as the Letter C" and "Owl's Clover."
Also here is the most comprehensive selection of Stevens's prose writings. The Necessary Angel (1951), his distinguished book of essays, joins nearly fifty shorter pieces, many previously uncollected: reviews, speeches, short stories, criticism, philosophical writings, and responses to the work of T. S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, and other poets. The often-dazzling aphorisms Stevens gathered over the years are included, as are his plays and selections from his poetic notebooks. Rounding out the volume is a fifty-year span of journal entries and letters, newly edited from manuscript sources, which provide fascinating glimpses of Stevens's thoughts on poetry and the creative process.
The volume's editors, Frank Kermode and Joan Richardson, provide notes and a detailed chronology of Stevens's life. Frank Kermode, one of the world's leading literary critics, was King Edward VII Professor of English at Cambridge University. Joan Richardson is the author of the standard biography of the poet, published in two volumes as Wallace Stevens: The Early Years, 1879–1923 and The Later Years, 1923–1955. She is professor of English and comparative literature at the Graduate School of the City University of New York.
Wallace Stevens's Collected Poetry and Prose was published with support from James Merrill (1926–1995) and will be kept in print by a gift in his memory.
Also of interest:
American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, volume 1 (Henry Adams to Dorothy Parker)
American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, volume 2 (E.E. Cummings to May Swenson)
Hart Crane: Complete Poems and Selected Letters
Robert Frost: Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays
Ezra Pound: Poems and Translations
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