From first to last, poetry was part of Edith Wharton's writing life. Whilerarely (after early youth) her primary focus, it always served her as a medium for recording the most vivid impressions and emotions, an intimate journal of longings and regrets. Poetry was important to Wharton, writeseditor Louis Auchincloss, because it enabled her to express the deeply emotional side of her nature that she kept under such tight control, not only in her life but in the ordered sweep of her fiction. In later years her poetry also engaged with the public passions of wartime, as she found herself involved with the plight of Allied soldiers in France. Her first models were Romantic, but in the course of her life she absorbed the influences of Symbolism and Modernism; and throughout her poetic career she showed a care for form even in her most private utterances, as in the erotic ode Terminus, never published in her lifetime. This volume collects the bulk of Wharton's significant poetry, including much work previously uncollected or unpublished.
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