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American Poets Project Series

Found in Poetry
Edna St. Vincent Millay: Selected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Stephen Crane: Complete Poems by Stephen Crane
Countee Cullen: Collected Poems by Countee Cullen

American Poets Project Series : Titles in Order

Book 32
A major and sometimes controversial figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Countee Cullen fused a mastery of the formal lyric with a passionate engagement with themes social, religious, racial, and personal in such books as Color, Copper Sun, and The Black Christ. Certain of his poems—“Heritage,” “Yet Do I Marvel”—are widely celebrated, but much of Cullen’s work remains to be discovered. This volume restores to print a body of work of singular intensity and beauty.

This is volume #32 in The Library of America’s American Poets Project series.
Book 31
The reputation of prose masterpieces like The Red Badge of Courage and Maggie: A Girl of the Streets ought never obscure Stephen Crane’s singular contribution to American poetry. In The Black Riders (1895), War Is Kind (1899), and the best of his uncollected poems, Crane forged his own idiom: abrupt, compact, sharply visual, and brutally indifferent to the niceties of late Victorian verse. These spontaneous utterances-Crane said they came to him “in little rows, all made up, ready to be put down on paper,” sometimes five or six a day-seem now like a prophetic blast of the modernist era and of the great war poetry that was to follow.

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.
Book 30
Stephen Foster is the trunk of the tree of American song. His blackface minstrel songs, including “Oh! Susanna,” “Old Folks at Home” (“Way down upon the Swanee River…”), and “My Old Kentucky Home,” and his parlor ballads, such as “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” and “Beautiful Dreamer,” have inspired composers, songwriters, and performers from Charles Ives and George Gershwin to Ray Charles and James Taylor. Foster devoted as much care and craft to his lyrics as he did to his timeless melodies.

In this comprehensive new selection, acclaimed music historian Ken Emerson introduces and annotates the lyrics to more than thirty of Foster’s best and best-known songs. These masterpieces by America’s first full-time professional songwriter, forebear of Irving Berlin, Hoagy Carmichael, Carole King, and Bob Dylan, have been so deeply absorbed into our culture that they are often assumed to be folk music. Alongside are fifty other 19th-century American popular songs that influenced Foster or that he in turn influenced, from “Home! Sweet Home!” in the 1820s to “Western Home” (the original “Home on the Range”) in the 1870s.

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.
Book 29
A keepsake edition gathering the lyrics of more than 80 of Gershwin’s most popular songs

Ira Gershwin once remarked that he always tried to “capture the way people spoke to each other—their slang, their clichés, the catch phrases.” Few people in ordinary life, of course, can muster the humor, vivacity, and emotional directness that Gershwin brought to his lyrics. His collaboration with his brother George—one of the summits of American popular music—produced masterpieces that reflect, perhaps, the way people would like to talk. “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “’S Wonderful”: these have entered the culture and become part of our common language. The insouciant, improvisational air of his lyrics belies the meticulous craftsmanship that Ira brought to every syllable. Robert Kimball has gathered more than 80 examples of Ira Gershwin at his best: the comic invention of songs such as “They All Laughed” and “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” the poignancy of “The Man I Love,” the wry edge of “The Saga of Jenny,” the sheer exuberance of “Fascinating Rhythm,” and dozens more.

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.
Book 28
“In 1965, Sylvia Plath’s posthumous Ariel took the literary world by storm with its fierce and undeniably female voice. For the next 15 years, America saw a historic outpouring of women’s poetry supported by and supporting the women’s movement. As editor Moore points out, poetry was vital to the movement, articulating previously unexpressed lives, empowering others as the poets found their own power. . . . And all who missed these missiles and epistles then will find them still demanding and invigorating.”—Booklist (starred review)

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.” These lines by Muriel Rukeyser epitomize the spirit that animated a whole generation of women poets, from the 1960s to the 1980s, who in exploring the unspoken truths of their lives sparked a literary revolution. Honor Moore’s anthology presents fifty-eight poets whose work defines an era, among them Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Sonia Sanchez, May Swenson, Alice Walker, Audre Lorde, Anne Waldman, Sharon Olds, Diane Di Prima, Lucille Clifton, Judy Grahn, Alice Notley, and Eileen Myles. Here is a fresh and revelatory look at a crucial time in American poetry that presents the full range of its themes and approaches and a generous sampling of its most compelling voices.

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.
Book 27
Better known for writing in a variety of other genres, James Agee always thought of himself as essentially a poet. Winner of the Yale Younger Poets competition in 1934 for Permit Me Voyage, Agee was, in the words of editor Andrew Hudgins, “as restless in his poetry as he was later in his prose, exhibiting a variety . . . that we expect from the protean mind that excelled in so many different kinds of writing.” Ranging from intense religious sonnets to lyrics for musical comedy, Agee?s verse takes us into the heart of his unique genius, what Robert Fitzgerald called his “sense of being . . . a raging awareness of the sensory field in depth and in detail.”

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.
Book 26
On October 3rd, 2007 Anne Stevenson was named the second recipient of the Poetry Foundation?s Neglected Masters Award. The award brings renewed critical attention to the life’s work of a significant but under-recognized American poet. The Library of America is proud to publish Anne Stevenson: Selected Poems, edited by English Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, in conjunction with the award. Stevenson was born in England of American parents in 1933, grew up and received her schooling in New England and in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has spent most of her adult life in England. This is the first American edition of her work in more than a generation.

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.
Book 25
When American poets turn to the sonnet, they invest it with a glamour and intensity equal to anything they have to show in more flamboyant, new-minted shapes. Like a symphony by Copland or a nude by de Kooning, an American sonnet marries European artistic tradition to New World innovation and expansiveness. Something old and familiar—the themes and schemes and history of the 14-line lyric—becomes something new, vital, and characteristically American.

This unique anthology presents one critic’s selection from two centuries of American sonnets. Some of David Bromwich’s choices—Hart Crane’s tribute to Emily Dickinson, for example, or Emma Lazarus’s dedication of Lady Liberty to the world’s tired and poor—are classics cast in bronze. Others—Elizabeth Bishop’s short-lined “Sonnet” or any sonnet typed by Cummings—are hammers that shatter the mold. The heart of the book is in the clusters of sonnets by Longfellow, Very, Tuckerman, Robinson, Frost, Stickney, Wylie, and Millay. Here are our Petrarchs and Shakespeares, the American masters who, by living within the strictures of the octave and the sestet, found full voice, enlarged a tradition, and changed the sonnet forever.

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.
Book 24
Kenneth Koch, in the words of editor Ron Padgett, wrote poetry that became a part of “the mystery and pleasure of being alive.” A center of the New York School, he gained notoriety by mocking the stodginess and academicism of much mid-century verse.

This enthralling selection encompasses the full range of Koch’s poetry, and includes such already classic works as “Fresh Air” (his devastatingly satirical assault on mid-1950s poetic conformism), “The Pleasure of Peace” (with its defiant assertion that “One single piece of pink mint chewing gum contains more pleasures / Than the whole rude gallery of war!”), “The Art of Poetry,” his astonishing and light-footed survey of the aims and methods of poetry, and poems from the late collection New Addresses, including “To World War Two,” “To Psychoanalysis,” and “To the French Language.”

A poet at once directly accessible and deeply mysterious, Kenneth Koch was the master of an art of surprise in which the world is constantly reimagined.

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.
Book 23
With the publication of Chicago Poems in 1916, Carl Sandburg became one of the most famous poets in America: the voice of a Midwestern literary revolt, fusing free-verse poetics with hard-edged journalistic observation and energetic, sometimes raucous protest.

By the time his first book appeared, Sandburg had been many things—a farm hand, a soldier in the Spanish-American War, an active Socialist, a newspaper reporter and movie reviewer—and he was determined to write poetry that would explode the genteel conventions of contemporary verse. His poems are populated by factory workers, washerwomen, crooked politicians, hobos, vaudeville dancers, and battle-scarred radicals. Writing from the bottom up, bringing to his poetry the immediacy of America’s streets and prairies, factories and jails, Sandburg forged a distinctive style at once lyrical and vernacular, by turns angry, gritty, funny, and tender.

Paul Berman takes a fresh look at Sandburg’s work and what it can tell us about twentieth-century America in a volume that draws on such volumes as Cornhuskers, Smoke and Steel, and Slabs of the Sunburnt West.

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.
Book 22
With an ear tuned to the most delicate musical effects, an eye for exact and heterogeneous details, and a mind bent on experiment, Louis Zukofsky was preeminent among the radical Objectivist poets of the 1930s. This is the first collection to draw on the full range of Zukofsky’s poetry——containing short lyrics, versions of Catullus, and generous selections from “A”, his 24-part “poem of a life”—and provides a superb introduction to a modern master of whom the critic Guy Davenport has written: “Every living American poet worth a hoot has stood aghast before the steel of his integrity.”

The most formally radical poet to emerge among the second wave of American modernists, Louis Zukofsky continues to influence younger poets attracted to the rigor, inventiveness, and formal clarity of his work. Born on New York’s Lower East Side in 1904 to emigrant parents, Zukofsky achieved early recognition when he edited an issue of Poetry devoted to the Objectivist poets, including George Oppen and Charles Reznikoff. In addition to an abundance of short lyrics and a sound-based version of the complete poems of Catullus, he worked for most of his adult life on the long poem “A” of which he said: “In a sense the poem is an autobiography: the words are my life.”

Zukofsky’s work has been described as difficult although he himself said: “I try to be as simple as possible.” In the words of editor Charles Bernstein, “This poetry leads with sound and you can never go wrong following the sound sense. . . . Zukofsky loved to create patterns, some of which are apparent and some of which operate subliminally. . . . Each word, like a stone dropped in a pond, creates a ripple around it. The intersecting ripples on the surface of the pond are the pattern of the poem.” Here for the first time is a selection designed to introduce the full range of Zukofsky’s extraordinary poetry.

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.
Book 21
Cole Porter possessed to a singular degree the art of expressing depth through apparent frivolity. The effervescent wit and technical bravura of his songs are matched by their unguarded revelations of feeling. In the words of editor Robert Kimball, “Porter wrote tellingly of the pain and evanescence of emotional relationships. He gently mocked propriety and said that few things were simple or lasting or free from ambiguity.” Of the masters of twentieth-century American songwriting, Porter was one of the few who wrote both music and lyrics, and, even in the absence of his melodies, his words distill an unmistakable mixture of poignancy and wit that marks him as a genius of light verse.

Selected from over eight hundred songs, here are Porter’s finest flights of invention, lyrics that are an indelible part of 20th-century culture: “Let’s Do It,” “Love for Sale,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Anything Goes,” “In the Still of the Night,” “I Concentrate on You,” and dozens more.

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.
Book 20
Meditative, comic, emotionally wrenching, steeped in both the natural world and the life of the mind, the poetry of A. R. Ammons is at once cosmic in scope and intimate in its moment-to-moment transformations. With his mastery of description and cadence, his roiling wit and fearless gaze, Ammons was a philosopher of the everyday who found surprise everywhere he looked. “He is often witty, sometimes bawdy,” writes editor David Lehman, “on a perpetual quest to find forms capacious enough for an imagination intent on finding a place for everything.”

A compound, in editor David Lehman’s words, of “wisdom, pathos, humor, mortal longing, and intimations of immortality,” the work of A. R. Ammons is like nothing else in modern American poetry. Ammons’s tireless formal invention and restless curiosity about every aspect of nature and of the mind are embodied in poetry that is effortlessly accessible and generous in its impulses. Whether spreading out in the long forms of Tape for the Turn of the Year or Garbage, or honing his perceptions down to the extreme brevity of his shorter lyrics, he holds tight to his vision of the way “all day / life itself is bending, / weaving, changing, / adapting, failing, / succeeding.”

This new selection covering the whole range of Ammons’s career offers a superb introduction to the pleasures and surprises of his work. His uncanny ability to balance wide-ranging abstract speculation with meticulous observation of natural phenomena, in poetry that encompasses moods of tragic pathos, low comedy, and seemingly casual profundity marks him as one of the preeminent figures in our recent literature.

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.
Book 19
“If you wanted a poem,” wrote Gwendolyn Brooks, “you only had to look out of a window. There was material always, walking or running, fighting or screaming or singing.” From the life of Chicago’s South Side she made a forceful and passionate poetry that fused Modernist aesthetics with African-American cultural tradition, a poetry that registered the life of the streets and the upheavals of the 20th century. Starting with A Street in Bronzeville (1945), her epoch-making debut volume, The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks traces the full arc of her career in all its ambitious scope and unexpected stylistic shifts.

“Her formal range,” writes editor Elizabeth Alexander, “is most impressive, as she experiments with sonnets, ballads, spirituals, blues, full and off-rhymes. She is nothing short of a technical virtuoso.” That technical virtuosity was matched by a restless curiosity about the life around her in all its explosive variety. By turns compassionate, angry, satiric, and psychologically penetrating, Gwendolyn Brooks’s poetry retains its power to move and surprise.

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.
Book 18
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.

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