From first to last, poetry was part of Edith Wharton’s writing life. While rarely (after early youth) her primary focus, it always served her as a medium for recording the most vivid impressions and emotions, an intimate journal of longings and regrets. “Poetry was important to Wharton,” writes editor Louis Auchincloss, “because it enabled her to express the deeply emotional side of her nature that she kept under such tight control, not only in her life but in the ordered sweep of her fiction.”
In later years her poetry also engaged with the public passions of wartime, as she found herself involved with the plight of Allied soldiers in France. Her first models were Romantic, but in the course of her life she absorbed the influences of Symbolism and Modernism; and throughout her poetic career she showed a care for form even in her most private utterances, as in the erotic ode “Terminus,” never published in her lifetime. This volume collects the bulk of Wharton’s significant poetry, including much work previously uncollected or unpublished.
About the American Poets Project Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today’s most discerning poets and critics.
Edith Wharton (1862–1937) enjoyed a prolific career that stretched over forty years and included the publication of more than forty books, among them such classics as The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence, for which she became the first woman… More about Edith Wharton