Paperback edition of poems that, for the first time, presents the full range of Marianne Moore's work in its published order, while honouring the complex textual lives of the poems.
During her lifetime Marianne Moore was that rarest of combinations, a genuine leader in the art of poetry, as well as a bona fide celebrity. She was an instantly recognisable symbol of Brooklyn, New York, appearing on the cover of Life magazine, asked by the Ford Motor Company to christen their new family sedan, and by the New York Yankees to throw the opening pitch of their baseball season. However, because of Moore's restless, seldom-ceasing, decade-spanning revision of her own poems, creating a 'stable' text of her work has posed editors a challenge ever since.
Moore tackled the problem herself: Complete Poems (1967) was her own selection, but she favoured the later work, including less than half of her output up to that point. 'Omissions are not accidents,' she wrote pointedly in that edition, but for some readers the absence of more than one hundred poems constituted a wilful neglect of her startlingly innovative, highly influential early work, and contributed to Moore's undervaluing as a 'modernist' poet.
Marianne Moore scholar Heather Cass White has prepared an edition of poems that, for the first time, presents the full range of Moore's work in its published order, while honouring the complex textual lives of the poems. With an inviting introduction and meticulous notes, the New Collected Poems of Marianne Moore is the first definitive text of this most celebrated writer, whose poems form part, as T. S. Eliot declared, of 'the small body of durable poetry written in our time'.
Marianne Moore was born in Kirkwood, Missouri, in 1887. She attended Bryn Mawr College, and lived her adult life in New York City, in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She was the author of numerous books of poems, including most notably Observations (1924), Selected Poems (1935), The Pangolin and Other Verse (1936), What Are Years (1941), and Collected Poems (1951). Her lifelong practice of a radically innovative formal verse, committed to moral courage and spiritual clarity, won her most of the major poetry awards available to an American: the Bollingen Award (1952), the National Book Award (1952), the Pulitzer Prize (1952), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal (1953), the Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America (1967), and the National Medal for Literature (1968). She died on 5 February 1972.
Heather Cass White has edited two previous collections of Moore's poetry, A-Quiver with Significance: Marianne Moore 1932-1936 (2008), and Adversity and Grace: Marianne Moore 1936-1941 (2012). She is Professor of English at the University of Alabama.
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