Yvor Winters

Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a poet, critic, and Stanford University professor of English literature. He won the Bollingen Prize in 1961.

Listed in: Poetry · Yvor Winters and His Circle · American Literature · Literary Criticism · Literary Studies




Poet, teacher, and critic, Yvor Winters was a man of letters in more ways than one. This selection of his personal correspondence spans half a century of literary history and a lifetime of intellectual development and growth. As a record of a serious artist and thinker's grappling with important issues and, sometimes, with his notable friends, the letters offer new and often unexpected insight into the creative mind at work.

“Edited with scrupulous attention not only to detail but also to the overall impression left by the volume. The Selected Letters is a virtual autobiography of Yvor Winters.”

The Providence Sunday Journal




Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a friend, colleague, and teacher to poets of several generations from Hart Crane and Allen Tate to J. V. Cunningham, Turner Cassity, and Edgar Bowers to Robert Hass, Philip Levine, and Robert Pinsky. His impact on mid- to late-twentieth-century poetry is profound. This stems in large part from his own poetry, which was a reflection of his critical thinking about poetry, and which underwent substantive changes over his career as a poet.

“Winters’s poems have compassion and are made of iron ... Dimwits have called him a conservative. He is the kind of conservative who was so original and radical that ... neither the avant-garde nor the vulgar had an eye for him.”

Robert Lowell




Forms of Discovery · Critical and Historical Essays on the Forms of the Short Poem in English
By Yvor Winters

With Forms of Discover, Yvor Winters completes his critical canon. The distinguished poet-critic defines by analysis and example the development of the method that he has called “post-Symbolist.” Starting with the styles of the English Renaissance, Winters discusses at length the felicities and shortcomings of these traditions, the main defect being that sensory imagery was little more than ornament.




In Defense of Reason · Three Classics of Contemporary Criticism
By Yvor Winters · Introduction by Kenneth Fields

Yvor Winters has here collected, with an introduction, the major critical works—Primitivism and Decadence, Maule’s Curse, and The Anatomy of Nonsense—of the period in which he worked out his famous and influential critical position. The works together show an integrated position which illuminates the force and importance of the individual essays. With The Function of Criticism, a subsequent collection, In Defense of Reason provides an incomparable body of critical writing.




The Function of Criticism · Problems and Exercises
By Yvor Winters