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Collected Poems


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About the Author

James Schuyler (1923-91) received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for The Morning of the Poem in 1981.


This posthumous collection of Schuyler's (1923-1991) work will confirm the poet's mastery of a type of poem made famous by his friend Frank O'Hara in the late 1950s. Schuyler's subject is his life, and his poems often read like elegant journal entries. The book presents intimate and conversational accounts of life in the Eastern literary landscape--New York City, New England, Long Island. In urbane free verse, the poet recalls and meditates on music and painting, homosexuality, weekends with friends--John Ashbery and Fairfield Porter among them--deaths, a drive to the Hamptons. Unlike many later writers who have tried to convey the poetry inherent in the mundane aspects of their quotidian routine, Schuyler had a superb ear for language, for ``How the thing said / Is in the words, how / The words are themselves / The thing said.'' His work is almost always interesting and witty, though rarely profound. A typical poem finds him dining out with friends, the narrative following the course of the poet's meandering thoughts: ``Now it's tomorrow, / as usual. Turned out that / Doug Douglas Crase, the poet / had to work (he makes his bread / writing speeches): thirty pages / explaining why Eastman Kodak's / semi-slump(?) is just what / the stockholders ordered.'' Rarely has a poet imparted so much of his experience as honestly and engagingly as Schuyler does here. (July)

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