With a distinguished career spanning more than sixty years, Richard Wilbur stands as one of America's preeminent men of letters. Collected Poems 1943-2004 is the comprehensive collection of Wilbur's astonishing, timeless work. It will serve as the most referenced trove of this beloved poet's best verses for many years to come.In Trackless Woods
In trackless woods, it puzzled me to find
Four great rock maples seemingly aligned,
As if they had been set out in a row
Before some house a century ago,
To edge the property and lend some shade.
I looked to see if ancient wheels had made
Old ruts to which the trees ran parallel,
But there were none, so far as I could tell-
There'd been no roadway. Nor could I find the square
Depression of a cellar anywhere,
And so I tramped on further, to survey
Amazing patterns in a hornbeam spray
Or spirals in a pine cone, under trees
Not subject to our stiff geometries.
This volume represents virtually all of Wilbur's published poetry to date, including his six earlier collections, twenty-seven new poems, and a cantata. Winner of the 1989 Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Poetry.
The School for Wives concerns an insecure man who contrives to show the world how to rig an infallible alliance by marrying the perfect bride; The Learned Ladies centers on the domestic calamities wrought by a domineering woman upon her husband, children, and household. "Wilbur...makes Moli re into as great an English verse playwright as he was a French one" (John Simon, New York). Introductions by Richard Wilbur.
Pierre Corneille, in his original dedication for The Theatre of Illusion, described the play as a "strange monster." He first called these five acts a comedy; later, a "caprice" and an "extravagant trifle." Written in 1635 and staged in 1636, the play vanished from the stage for the next three hundred years--to be revived in 1937 by Louis Jouvet and the Com die Fran aise. Since then it has been widely considered, in Virginia Scott's words, "Corneille's baroque masterpiece."
Today this brilliant piece of wit and drama is available in a new translation from one of America's finest poets and translators of French, Richard Wilbur. Widely praised for his translations of plays by Moli re and Racine, Wilbur now turns his poetic grace to this work, which remains as much a celebration of the comedy of humanity and the magic of life as it was when Corneille wrote it.
Poet laureate of the United States, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, chancellor of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, recipient of the Bollingen Prize, the Prix de Rome, and many other major honors, Richard Wilbur has been a central figure in American literature since World War II. Yet commentary about his poetry has been sparse. In this book, Bruce Michelson brings to Wilbur's achievement the close critical attention it deserves. The first extended study of Wilbur's work in twenty-five years, Wilbur's Poetry explores the light poems, the darker mediations, the brilliant translations of Moliere and Racine, as well as the risks Wilbur has taken as an artist. There are chapters on Wilbur's unique use of language and his response to a vast poetic heritage, on form and closure and their thematic implications, and of Wilbur's place as a poet in a complex and scattering time.