The landmark oeuvre of Marianne Moore, one of the major inventors of poetic modernism, has had no straight path from beginning to end; until now, there has been no good vantage point from which to see the body of her remarkable work as a whole. Throughout her life Moore arranged and rearranged, visited and revisited, a large majority of her existing poetry, always adding new work interspersed among revised poems. This makes sorting out the complex textual history that she left behind a pressing task if we mean to represent her work as a poet in a way that gives us a complete picture. New Collected Poems offers an answer to the question of how to represent the work of a poet so skillful and singular, giving a portrait of the range of her voice and of the modernist culture she helped create.
William Carlos Williams, remarking on the impeccable precision of Moore’s poems, praised “the aesthetic pleasure engendered when pure craftsmanship joins hard surfaces skillfully.” It is only in New Collected Poems that we can understand her later achievements, see how she refashioned her earlier work, and get a more complete understanding of her consummate craftsmanship, innovation, and attention to detail. Presented and collected by Heather Cass White, the foremost scholar of Moore’s work, this new collection at last allows readers to experience the untamed force of these dazzling poems as the author first envisioned them.
"A fresh perspective on the legacy of Marianne Moore . . . In this new volume, White, a professor at the University of Alabama, presents what she believes to be the best version of Moore's work, along with copious notes, and various versions of poems that Moore tinkered with over years or even decades. Readers and writers will benefit from seeing how Moore . . . drastically cut some of her most famous poems . . . With this book, White has not only given readers an authoritative compendium of Moore's work but an insightful critique of her writing process."—Elizabeth Lund, The Washington Post
“[Marianne Moore’s poems strike me] as miracles of language and construction. Why had no one ever written about things in this clear and dazzling way before?”—Elizabeth Bishop
“Heather Cass White has given us what must be the definitive edition of Marianne Moore, a poet unique enough to be celebrated by Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. Her influence on such superb artists as Richard Wilbur, Elizabeth Bishop, and May Swenson testifies to her importance. More than ever, as barbarism threatens to flood us, we need the vital poets of our beleaguered nation.”—Harold Bloom
“With graceful ingenuity, Heather Cass White enables for the reader an often disparate (though always essential) art, by providing illuminating commentary from both Marianne Moore and herself. W. H.Auden best describes the consequence: ‘One of the few modern poets whom I can read on any day and in any mood.’”—Richard Howard
“Heather Cass White challenges Marianne Moore’s retrospective editorial control of her poems in order to present Moore’s work as her contemporaries would have encountered it. In so doing White deepens our access to Moore’s brilliance and idiosyncrasy while also expanding our sense of her work’s relation to its historical moment. This does not supplant Moore’s own editing but illuminates it. This does not end conversation about Moore’s indispensable poetry; it revitalizes it.”—Ben Lerner
“New Collected Poems is a wonderful gift to readers of Marianne Moore—there are versions of poems here that few of us have seen before—and it is sure to win new readers, too, of one of the brave originals of modern writing. Heather Cass White has edited these poems with a generous intelligence, and the notes and apparatus are exemplary for their tact.”—David Bromwich
Reviews from Goodreads
What should one call a new edition of Marianne Moore’s poetry? What can one call it, given the titles of her books that have been or are currently in use? During her life there were books of her poems called Poems...