Complete Poems

Front Cover
Penguin, Nov 1, 1994 - Poetry - 320 pages
2 Reviews
“Teems with sharp observation, profound moral insight, high satiric wit, and all manner of aesthetic delight.” –The New York Times book Review

This definitive edition brings together all the works that Pulitzer Prize-winning Marianne Moore wished to preserve, covering more than sixty years of writing, and incorporating the final revisions she made to the texts. The poems demonstrate Moore’s wide range of interests, moving from witty images of animals, sporting events, and social institutions, to thoughtful meditations on human nature. In entertaining informative notes, Moore reveals the inspiration for complete poems and individual lines within them.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Asmaa Ottoman
Marianne Moore is one of the foremost American literary artists. Her early upbringing gives her power to speak as a woman and an artist, but not necessarily for
women. She has a unique voice and rejects the stereotypical nineteenth-century artist. Her family treated her as a young writer even at a very early age. She tried to formulate her own voice and emphasize her identity. In "Peter," Moore asked, "What is the good of hypocrisy?" (Complete Poems, 43, 30). Like her cat, she had an independent and determined character. She was an honest, keen writer. The poet wrote poetry, prose, essays and stories. Her early personal poems reflect a distinguished voice and intelligent perspectives. As a mature writer, she was more determined to publish her poems. On finishing a poem, she said, "I am going to be very harsh with somebody if I do not get it printed sometime" (Selected Letters, p.93). In a prose text entitled "The Discouraged Poet," a guardian tells a poet, "My lad, you are young. You do not know enough to write" (Complete Prose, p.8). A poet should read extensively in order to write. Moore was a prolific reader and writer, and in "The Sacred Wood," she mentioned that a critic had to observe and create. For example, she saw W.C. Williams as a critic because he had the imagination to connect and combine things which were different. She said, "Criticism naturally deals with creation" (Complete Prose, p.52). Her experience made her a critic, and her poems took a critical turn.
I am prepared to review poetry, fiction, art and
theology. Music and sport and dancing are the
only things I am afraid to tackle (Complete Letters, p.10)
Most of her poems were related to music, dance and sports, though, such as "Propriety" and "Baseball and Writing." Yet she did not write whole poems about these subjects. Rather she used terms and names connected with them. In her notebooks, Moore made various references which she later used in many poems. This made her poetry important and valuable.
The poet did not allude to sexual matters in her poetry. Some critics and poets like Tess Gallagher and Suzanne Juhasz, see this approach as negative, and lacking in power and emotion (Poetry Criticism, p. 259). Nevertheless, Moore is not afraid of male domination. She introduces the other sex in different poems like "Marriage," "To The Peacock of France" and "Light Is Speech." It is not superior or inferior, but unique and distinguished. It is true that Moore's sense of being feminine is not as powerful as that of her wish to be an ambitious writer. Other poets like T.S.Eliot and Ezra Pound have evaluated her work as remarkable and outstanding (Poetry Criticism, p.232). In an introduction to Marianne Moore's Selected Poems (1935), Eliot said that her poetry resembled that of Christina Rosseti in that both are feminine, "One never forgets that it is written by a woman" (Poetry Criticism, 232), and adds that this is "a positive virtue" (p. 232). Besides, Eliot himself had a distinct influence upon Moore's poetry. Her volume Observations (1924) is named after his Prufrock and Other Observations (1920). She had an interest in making physical observations with moral insights. She also sought Eliot's help in the arrangement and publication of her poems. She said, "A mere change in the arrangement of the poems would help a little" (Complete Prose, p.35).
Moreover, critics like Suzanne Juhasz regard Moore as an objectivist or an impersonal poet (Poetry Criticism, p. 248). They assert that she suppresses her inner feelings and concentrates on the world around her. Nevertheless, Moore shows that she is subjective. She declares her thoughts and motions in relation to the outer world, as in "Is Your Town Nineveh

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User Review  - heather - Goodreads

The Collected Poems of Marianne Moore: this was ideal to read alongside the Lowell/Bishop correspondence since they speak of her in nearly every letter. This complemented the well-written and ... Read full review

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About the author (1994)

Marianne Moore was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, on November 1, 1887, and spent much of her youth in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. After graduation from Bryn Mawr College in 1909 she taught for four years at the Carlisle Indian School. Her poetry first appeared professionally in The Egoist and Poetry magazines in 1915 and she moved to New York City in 1918. Her first book, Poems, was issued in England by the Egoist Press in 1921. Observations, published three years later in America, received the Dial Award. From 1925 to 1929 she served as acting editor of The Dial, the preeminent American literary periodical. She moved to Brooklyn in 1929, where she lived for the next thirty-six years. In 1935 Selected Poems, with an Introduction by T.S. Eliot, brought her work to the attention of a wider public.

Three additional books of poetry were followed, in 1951, by her Collected Poems, which won the Bollingen Prize, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. She went on to publish a verse translation of the complete Fables of La Fontaine, a collection of critical essays, and three more volumes of poems.

Among the many awards Marianne Moore received are the National Institute of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for poetry, the Poetry Scoiety of America's Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, and the National Medal for Literature, America's highest literary honor. A member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters since 1947, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1955. In 1967 she was made Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Republic, and in 1969 she received an honorary doctorate in literature from Harvard University, her sixteenth honorary degree. Marianne Moore died in New York City, in her eighty-fifth year, on February 5, 1972.

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