Collected Poems of Anthony Hecht: Including late and uncollected work (Hardcover)

Collected Poems of Anthony Hecht: Including late and uncollected work By Anthony Hecht, Philip Hoy (Editor) Cover Image

Collected Poems of Anthony Hecht: Including late and uncollected work (Hardcover)

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The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • In his centenary year, this volume of the Pulitzer Prize winner and former poet laureate’s poems celebrates the indispensable artistry of a writer who faced the history of his era with a “clear-eyed mercy toward human weakness” (The New York Times Book Review) and was hailed in his day as “the best poet writing in English” (Joseph Brodsky).

This volume brings together for the first time all of the poems that appeared in Anthony Hecht’s seven trade collections, from A Summoning of Stones of 1954 through to The Darkness and the Light of 2001; it adds the remarkable work contained in his posthumously issued Interior Skies: Late Poems from Liguria of 2011; and it rounds this out with the best of the many poems which were left uncollected at the time of his death in 2004, the earliest dating from 1950 and the latest from 2001. Including the woodcuts by Leonard Baskin that accompanied some of his pieces through the years, Collected Poems brings us the full sweep of the experience and artistry of Anthony Hecht, who, as an infantryman in World War II, bore witness to the shaping events of his time, which continue to shape our own.

As the editor Philip Hoy states in his introduction: “Anthony Hecht once wrote that poems can allow us to contemplate our ‘sweetest triumphs’ and our ‘deepest desolations,’ and by employing ‘the manifold devices of art’ to recover for us what he memorably called ‘the inexhaustible plenitude of the world.’ The work gathered together here amply attests to the truth of that claim, and makes it clear that Hecht was one of the finest poets, not just of his generation, but of the twentieth century.”
ANTHONY HECHT, born in New York City in 1923, was the author of eight books of poetry, including The Hard Hours, which received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1968. He also wrote several volumes of essays and criticism, among them The Hidden Law, a book-length study of the poetry of W. H. Auden. Appointed poet laureate of the United States in 1982, his other honors included the Ruth B. Lilly Prize, the Bollingen Prize, the Eugenio Montale Award, the Wallace Stevens Award, the Robert Frost Medal, and the National Medal of Arts. He received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome; the Bogliasco, Ford, Guggenheim, and Rockefeller Foundations; and the National Endowment for the Arts. A member of the Academy of American Poets, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he died in 2004.

PHILIP HOY is editor in chief of the Waywiser Press, which became Anthony Hecht’s British publisher in 2002. He is the author of W. D. Snodgrass in Conversation with Philip Hoy (1998), Anthony Hecht in Conversation with Philip Hoy (1999), Donald Justice in Conversation with Philip Hoy (2001), and M. Degas Steps Out: An Essay (2022). He wrote the foreword to Hecht’s posthumously published Interior Skies: Late Poems from Liguria (2011) and is the editor of A Bountiful Harvest: The Correspondence of Anthony Hecht and William L. MacDonald (2018).

Product Details ISBN: 9780593319192
ISBN-10: 0593319192
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: November 7th, 2023
Pages: 640
Language: English
"Hecht appears to be one of the few poets for whom a collected poems is not only beneficial, but necessary… Meticulously edited…[the book] illustrates how completely The Hard Hours jumped to Hecht’s mature style: pared down, severe, and moving by juxtaposition…That volume contains three of his greatest poems, 'The Vow,' 'More Light! More Light!' and 'It Out-Herods Herod. Pray You, Avoid It'...These poems, and a half-dozen others I would label 'great,' should ensure Hecht’s place in future anthologies and in the postwar American pantheon—no mean feat considering that august generation included, among others, John Ashbery, Gwendolyn Brooks, Donald Justice, James Merrill, Frank O’Hara, and Adrienne Rich…With this Collected, he could be confident in uttering “non omnis moriar”: I shall not altogether perish." —A. E. Stallings, Poetry Foundation (online)

“No other recent poet in English has left us such an abundant display of what a certain kind of talent—ironic, formal, elegant—can do.” —David Mason, The Wall Street Journal

"No matter how dark or light his theme, Hecht’s verse always remains musical, flowing and immensely readable." —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

“[Hecht's] poems fulfilled and surpassed the canons of the well-made work of art that had been established in his [day] . . . The whirling intricacies of Hecht’s verse are worthy of our careful attention, not least because they teach us how to be civilized even as we stand before the atrocities of a barbaric age.” —James Matthew Wilson, National Review

“With Shakespeare as his model and Auden as his guide, Anthony Hecht made a majestic contribution to American literature. His Collected Poems is a work of great wit and grandeur.” —Edward Hirsch, author of Stranger by Night

“A new generation of readers can encounter the work of a master poet over the whole course of a literary career. Hecht’s formal brilliance is absolute, and his dark and scrupulous reckoning with the violence and upheaval of his times has much to teach us about our own.” —Richie Hofmann, author of A Hundred Lovers

“Thanks to the editorial thoroughness and wisdom of Philip Hoy, we find that many of the unknown poems collected here for the first time do more than meet the high standard of Hecht’s most celebrated ones. They confirm that this essential poet, always notable for his grave historical sense, his satiric wit, and his technical ingenuity, could also call upon a light touch—a simplicity that can convey acceptance and even joy.” —Mary Jo Salter, author of Zoom Rooms

“For all its classical mastery, the dark music of Anthony Hecht’s poems is tuned to the tragic history of the twentieth century, and yet his work maintains a passionate belief in the generative power of the imagination and the fulfillments of amatory love. There are few postwar poets who possessed the moral courage to look into the divided heart of human nature and bear witness to both the benighted and enlightening mysteries that lie within. If we wish to better understand ourselves and our times, this epoch-defining collection would serve as an inspiring guide.” —Sherod Santos, author of The Burning World