A Los Angeles Times Best Book
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book
Edmund Wilson once wrote that Robert Lowell was "the only recent American poet—if you don't count Eliot—who writes successfully in the language and cadence and rhyme of the resounding English tradition." And Randall Jarrell observed of him: "You feel before reading any new poem of his the uneasy expectation of perhaps encountering a masterpiece." He was the English-speaking world's preeminent postwar poet—a legend of modern letters.
In this long-anticipated, universally acclaimed collection, Frank Bidart and David Gewanter have compiled the definitive edition of Lowell's work, from his first, impossible-to-find collection, Land of Unlikeness; to the early triumph of Lord Weary's Castle, winner of the 1946 Pulitzer Prize (when the poet was 30 years old); to the brilliant willfulness of his versions of poems by Sappho, Baudelaire, Rilke, Montale, and other masters in Imitations; to the late spontaneity of The Dolphin, winner of another Pulitzer Prize; to his last, most searching book, Day by Day. This hefty volume also includes poems and translations never previously collected, and a selection of drafts that demonstrate the poet's constant drive to reimagine his work. Bidart, Lowell's longtime friend, apprentice, and literary executor, has here contributed an introduction and afterword that both explore Lowell's idiosyncratic approach to poem-making. Moreover, Collected Poems includes voluminous notes and a glossary of important names.
At last, all readers, scholars, and students are given the opportunity to take in, entire, one of the great careers in twentieth-century poetry.