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The Poems of Marianne Moore Paperback – March 29, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Poets and critics now consider Moore (1887-1972) a major modern American poet, equal (or almost equal) to T.S. Eliot, and maybe better than (if nothing like) Ezra Pound. Most of her best poems appeared (just as theirs did) during the 1910s, '20s and '30s. Yet Moore left some of those poems (and most of her earliest verse) out when, near the end of her life, she prepared her own Complete Poems; other famous poems entered that volume only in late, much-revised versions. Schulman's long-anticipated volume presents, for the first time, the full span of Moore's work, from her flirtatious, tangy collegiate light verse, through a trove of promising poems from the 1910s, and including masterpieces that for decades were available only in libraries. Moore's careful ethics and elaborately arranged stanzas seem almost more relevant to contemporary poetry than they did to poets of her own generation, though Schulman, a poet herself and the poetry editor of the Nation, perhaps overstates Moore's influence in an awestruck introduction. All Moore's well-known poems are here, of course, including "The Steeple-Jack," "Marriage," and "Poetry" ("I, too, dislike it") in both its longest and its shortest versions. The real selling points, though, are the long out-of-print poems-most of them enlightening, a few ("Melancthon," "Radical," "An Old Tiger," "Dock Rats") as good as anything she chose to keep. As Moore herself explained (in a poem she later suppressed), "Compliments are free/ To all but are not synonymous with admiration": admiration is what this volume will attract.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The great American modernist Moore (1887-1972) was nothing if not self-critical, and the book she entitled The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore (1967) excluded more than half the poems she had published. Schulman, who, when she was 14, became acquainted with Moore and wrote her doctoral thesis on Moore's work, with Moore's cooperation, now restores Moore's exclusions, not just in this book's main text but in editorial notes, among which variants of several poems, some of them quite different from their canonical siblings, appear. (Notice, however, Schulman's reluctance to claim completeness for her edition; apparently there are files to be opened yet.) The resultant volume is important in two ways. For Moore's enthusiasts, it is so much more Moore. For readers who have never warmed to the highly allusive, botanically and zoologically detailed lyrics for which she is admired, the great number of earlier, more accessible poems that opens this book constitutes a welcome entree into her work, thanks to Schulman's wise decision to present the poems in chronology. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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mid-career and late poetic content and maturing style.
Moore was a savage editor of her work, and insisted on collecting only what she considered the very best of her poems, often significantly revised over the years. Schulman pulls back the curtain to let you see the earlier versions, in the chronological order in which they were written, along with many very fine poems that didn't pass muster with Moore. You get four versions of the famous "Poetry," for instance ("I, too, dislike it")-the 1919 original included in the body of the text and the three variants Moore wrote over the next 40 years tucked helpfully in the Notes at the back.
The upshot is that you get a much clearer sense of Moore's development and characteristic concerns. Every bit as formidable, she also becomes just a little more human when you see the full range of her writing. Some of the false starts and minor pieces can often be more revealing than the Greatest Hits (though sometimes what Moore considered minor can be scary.) Now that Schulman's book is available as a paperback, I wonder how many of these lesser-known poems will eventually find their way into the anthologies.
Schulman also won me over by including Moore's earliest poem, written for Christmas in 1895 when she was 8:
Dear St. Nicklus:
This Christmas morn
You do adorn
Bring Warner a horn
And me a doll
That is all.