“Selected by Barth, who has also edited Winters, this welcome volume offers a new look at a careful poet with an unusually long career.… Readers of Richard Wilbur, Louise Bogan or Robert Pinsky will likely want to go out of their way to track Lewis's work down—thanks to this edition, they may not have to.”
Since the appearance in print of her early poems over seventy-five years ago, the poetry of Janet Lewis has grown in quiet acclaim and popularity. Although she is better known as a novelist of historical fiction, her first and last writings were poems. With the publication of her selected poems, Swallow Press celebrates the distinguished career of one of its most cherished authors.
Critics as disparate as Kenneth Rexroth, Timothy Steele, Theodore Roethke, Larry McMurtry, N. Scott Momaday, and Dana Gioia have sung the praises of her work over the decades. Her career as a poet was remarkable not only for its longevity but also for the fact that even well into her tenth decade she wrote poems that stand with her very best work.
Characterized by the vigor and sharpness of her images and the understated lyricism that permeates her rhythmic lines, The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis is a survey of modern poetry unto itself.
Janet Lewis was a novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose literary career spanned almost the entire twentieth century. The New York Times has praised her novels as “some of the 20th century’s most vividly imagined and finely wrought literature.” Born and educated in Chicago, she lived in California for most of her adult life and taught at both Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. Her works include The Wife of Martin Guerre (1941), The Trial of Sören Qvist (1947), The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron (1959), Good-Bye, Son and Other Stories (1946), and Poems Old and New (1982).
R. L. Barth is the author of A Soldier's Time, Abandon Hope, and, most recently, First Morning, Last Night. As Robert L. Barth he is a publisher of chapbooks.
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Turner Cassity is like a highly accomplished traditional composer—Camille Saint-Saëns, say, or Richard Strauss—who does not doubt that the music is the score and the score is the music. That is, poetry is verse and verse is poetry. Given that confidence, he is prepared to take on any subject. In the forty years he has been publishing, Mr. Cassity has never once written about nothing.
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.
From a poetic career that spans more than half a century and that is still producing poems as fresh and honest as the first, comes James Schevill's New and Selected Poems, redefining the achievement of this uniquely American vision. Schevill's poetry, acclaimed and criticized, has been rigorously selected here by the poet himself down to the best and most representative of his significant output.
The Wife of Martin Guerre—based on a notorious trial in sixteenth-century France—is “one of the most significant short novels in English” (Atlantic Monthly). Originally published in 1941, it still raises questions about identity, belonging, and about an individual’s capacity to act within an inflexible system.