Collected poems

Front Cover
Knopf, 2001 - Poetry - 885 pages
5 Reviews
The publication of James Merrill's Collected Poems is a landmark in the history of modern American literature. His First Poemsits sophistication and virtuosity were recognized at onceappeared half a century ago. Over the next five decades, Merrill's range broadened and his voice took on its characteristic richness. In book after book, his urbanity and wit, his intriguing images and paradoxes, shone with a rare brilliance. As he once told an interviewer, he "looked for English in its billiard-table sensewords that have been set spinning against their own gravity." But beneath their surface glamour, his poems were driven by an audacious imagination that continually sought to deepen and refine our perspectives on experience. Among other roles, he was one of the supreme love poets of the twentieth century. In delicate lyric or complex narrative, this book abounds with what he once called his "chronicles of love and loss." Like Wallace Stevens and W. H. Auden before him, Merrill sought to quicken the pulse of a poem in surprising and compelling waysways, indeed, that changed how we came to see our own lives. Years ago, the critic Helen Vendler spoke for others when she wrote of Merrill, "The time eventually comes, in a good poet's career, when readers actively wait for his books: to know that someone out there is writing down your century, your generation, your language, your life . . . He has become one of our indispensable poets." This book brings together a remarkable body of work in an authoritative edition. From Merrill's privately printed book, The Black Swan, published in 1946, to his posthumous collection, A Scattering of Salts, which appeared in 1995, all of the poems he published are included, except for juvenalia and his epic, The Changing Light at Sandover. In addition, twenty-one of his translations (from Apollinaire, Montale, and Cavafy, among others) and forty-four of his previously uncollected poems (including those written in the last year of his life) are gathered here for the first time. Collected Poems in the first volume in a series that will present all of James Merrill's workhis novels and plays, and his collected prose. Together, these volumes will testify to a monumental career that distinguished American literature in the late twentieth century and will continue to inspire readers and writers for years to come.

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Review: Collected Poems

User Review  - Ian - Goodreads

Merrill exhibits incredible poise as well as a fascinating wit. He also offers moments of question and darkness which offers new insight and awareness of the world around us. The book offers a ... Read full review

Review: Collected Poems

User Review  - Gregory Knapp - Goodreads

The best American poet of the second half of the 20th Century? Read full review

Contents

The Black Swan
3
Hourglass
16
The Grape Cure
29
Transfigured Bird
33
The Peacock
39
Periwinkles
48
The Country of a Thousand Years of Peace
57
The Greenhouse
63
The Metro
435
A Day on the Connecticut River
444
III
461
Arclight
468
Lenses
475
After the Ball
486
Little Fallacy
493
Serenade
501

II
71
A Narrow Escape
77
Mirror
83
Laboratory Poem
89
Three Chores
90
Marsyas
96
The Perfume
103
A Survival
109
Dream Escape from the Sculpture Museum and Waking
115
In the Hall of Mirrors
121
Water Street 1962
127
After Greece
134
Scenes of Childhood
141
The World and the Child
147
Getting Through
150
The Reconnaissance
156
The Parrot Fish
163
Nightgown
175
Maisie
186
1939
192
Little Fanfare for Felix Magowan
201
From the Cupola
207
Days of 1964
220
Lorelei
227
1x 65
235
To My Greek
241
An Abdication
248
Last Words
254
Mornings in a New House
261
Matinees
267
Braving the Elements 1972
295
In Monument Valley
301
Mandala
312
Another April
318
Willowware Cup
324
Under Mars
327
Komboloi
334
A Translation
343
The Victor Dog
353
The Kimono
361
McKanes Falls
368
Manos Karastefanis
379
Verse for Urania
385
The Will
392
Whitebeard on Videotape
399
Grass
405
Island in the Works
411
The Help
418
Days of 1941 and 44
425
Topics
429
The Fifteenth Summer
507
III
529
Ginger Beef
535
Walks in Rome
563
Icecap
569
Investiture at Cecconis
580
A Scattering of Salts 1995
589
Morning Exercise
602
Home Fires
608
The Ponchielli Complex
614
II
623
The Great Emigration
629
Scrapping the Computer
635
Vol XLIV No 3
641
Cosmo
650
The Pyroxenes
664
An Upward Look
674
Perspectives of a Lonesome Eye
682
Suspense of Love
690
A Valentine in Crayons
700
Zeno Reminded of a Family Quarrel
706
Rough Scheme for an Eon in the Alps 7I 2
712
The Candid Decorator
717
Athens
723
Table Talk
731
Hourglass
740
Mosquito
746
Tsikoudhia
752
Seaside Doorway Summer Dawn
758
Desert Motel with Frog Amulet
764
Master and Man
767
Translations
773
The Malleability of Sorrow Lodeizen
780
The Dead Horse Meireles
787
Cafe at Rapallo Montale
794
The Author in Exile to His Publisher in Prison Vassilikos
800
Beginners Greek
809
Mouthpiece
815
Fort Lauderdale
820
Snapshot of Adam
826
The Illustrations
832
Domestic Architecture
838
Navarino
846
After Cavafy
853
Rhapsody on Czech Themes
859
Christmas Tree
866
Biographical Note
873
Index of Titles
881
Copyright

About the author (2001)

James Merrill was born on March 3, 1926, in New York City and died on February 6, 1995. From the mid-1950's on, he lived in Stonington, Connecticut, and for extended periods he also had houses in Athens and Key West. From The Black Swan (1946) through A Scattering of Salts (1995), he wrote twelve books of poems, ten of them published in trade editions, as well as The Changing Light at Sandover (1982). He also published two plays, The Immortal Husband (1956) and The Bait (1860); two novels, The Seraglio (1957, reissued in 1987) and The (Diblos) Notebook (1965, reissued in 1994); a book of essays, interviews, and reviews, Recitative (1986); and a memoir, A Different Person (1993). Over the years, he was the winner of numerous awards for his poetry, including two National Book Awards, the Bollingen Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, and the first Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. He was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Bibliographic information