As critic and teacher, Yvor Winters was one of the most controversial and influential figures of his time. He criticized the likes of Eliot and Henry James, was called by the chair of his English department "a disgrace," and taught such major poets as Robert Pinsky and Philip Levine. As a poet, he created a moving body of work featuring natural and personal subjects and dramatic formal experiments. The American Poets Project presents the largest collection of his work ever published. Selected by celebrated poet Thom Gunn, a friend and former student of Winters, this volume begins with early free verse and culminates in late meditative neoclassical masterpieces.
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Thom Gunn, editor, was a senior lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley and is the author of Collected Poems (1994) and Shelf Life (1993).From Booklist:
To Thom Gunn, the foremost Britain-to-America transplant poet of his generation (Auden was his great forebear in a previous generation), falls the task of re-presenting Winters (1900-67), one of the most famous critics and teachers of his lifetime, whose poetry was then more respected than discussed. Now it seems to be some of the best from his generation of American poets. His early work, which Gunn represents far more generously than R. L. Barth did in The Selected Poems of Yvor Winters (1999), exemplifies imagism at its best, and it is based in the American West rather than the classical Greece that predominates in the work of H. D., the best imagist, Winters' later, formally precise poetry is elegant, allusive, profound, and rather dour, demanding careful reading and rereading and always repaying the effort. Adding immense value to this edition is the inclusion of an autobiographical story with an eerie account of self-confrontation in which Gunn sees the pivot between Winters' early and late poetic styles. Ray Olson
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