In celebration of the centenary of May Swenson’s birth, The Library of America presents a one-volume edition of all of the poems that Swenson published in her lifetime—from her first collection Another Animal (1954) to the innovative shaped poems of Iconographs (1970) to her final work In Other Words (1987)—as well as a selection of previously uncollected work. The collection reveals the sweeping compass of Swenson’s curiosity: nature poems display her keen observation of wildlife; exuberant and erotic love poems celebrate beauty and passion; place poems record her travels to the American Southwest, France, and Italy and her residence in New York City and Sea Cliff, Long Island; verse “analyses” investigate baseball, wave motion, the DNA molecule, bronco busting, James Bond movies, and the first walk on the moon. Swenson was an inveterate reviser: poems in earlier volumes were frequently reworked for inclusion in later volumes, such as To Mix with Time (1963) and New and Selected Things Taking Place (1978). While preserving the order of publication, this volume presents the author’s final or definitive version. Substantive textual variants and title changes are detailed in the notes to the volume.
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LANGDON HAMMER, editor, is professor of English at Yale University where he teaches modern and contemporary poetry. He is the author of Hart Crane and Allen Tate: Janus-Faced Modernism, and the editor of O My Land, My Friends: The Selected Letters of Hart Crane as well as Hart Crane: Complete Poetry & Selected Letters, also from The Library of America. He is the poetry editor of The American Scholar, and he writes about poetry for The New York Times Book Review and other magazines.
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