Skip to content

[A] part of our country's poetic treasure

—Adrienne Rich

Hayden Carruth

20th century American poet, literary critic and editor

Hayden Carruth (1921–2008) was born in Waterbury, Connecticut. The poet earned his AB from the University of North Carolina (1942) and his MA from the University of Chicago (1948). Mr. Carruth was Editor of Poetry Magazine, Associate Editor of the University of Chicago Press, and Project Administrator for Intercultural Publications. Since 1953, he worked freelance (copyediting, typing, proofreading) and reviewed books for Hudson Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review as well as various other magazines and newspapers. The Bollingen, Guggenheim and National Foundations all awarded Mr. Carruth various fellowships. Carruth passed away in 2008.


Tell Me Again How The White Heron Rises .....

Poetry by Hayden Carruth


Tell Me Again How the White Heron Rises and Flies Across the Nacreous River at Twilight Toward the Distant Islands is Hayden Carruth’s fourth book of poetry with New Directions. This is a full and rich collection which has been separated into two parts. Part one offers a varied wealth of poems, remarkable as always for their meditative powers and for their "principled alertness..." (NYTBR). The seccond part is one long poem, "Mother," a work of fierce emotion addressing the long life and slow torturous death of Carruth’s own mother.


Available: September 01 1989


Asphalt Georgics

Poetry by Hayden Carruth


America’s paved-over landscape dotted with its oases of shopping malls and franchise strips is the setting for Hayden Carruth’s Asphalt Georgics, a new collection of thirteen poems in the common speech of Upstate New York. Here are the voices of Charlie Spaid, talking of the death of his landlady, Marge; of Septic Tanck, musing on his own peculiar name; of old Capper Kaplinski, still watching the girls pass by; of Art and Poll, back in the old neighborhood. What they tell about their lives is hardly what they themselves would ever expect to read in the pages of a book of poetry. Yet to capture the rhythms of their very colloquial language, Hayden Carruth has invented a new verse form, his Georgics-quatrains in strict syllables and rhyme, though with no accentual pattern––which achieve by their special artifice a classic and earthy elegance.


Available: April 01 1985


From Snow and Rock, From Chaos

Poetry by Hayden Carruth


Hayden Carruth’s From Snow and Rock, from Chaos - his first book since For You (1970) - contains a selection of his best short poems written between 1965 and 1972. Once again, the setting for many of the pieces is the Green Mountains of Vermont, where the poet and his family have lived for several years. A member of the editorial board of The Hudson Review and a regular contributor to numerou periodicals, he is the editor of the recent comprehensive paperbook anthology The Voice That is Great Within Us: American Poetry of the Twentieth Century (1970).



For You

Poetry by Hayden Carruth


This book collects five long poems that have previously appeared, with one exception, only in magazines and limited editions. One critic has called them "virtually secret." Yet they are probably the heart of Carruth’s poetic achievement, both technically and thematically. Rising from the experience of emotional illness and the asylum, the poems move at intervals and over a period of nearly fifty years toward a sustained, workable view of humanity in crisis.

"I have tried to create a person," Carruth writes, "specifically a seeing, living, surmounting person. Modesty is important, and so are winter and the north. A man alone in the snow is still much in this world, including the social world, though his ’in-ness’ is naturally a form of rebellion."

The poems included are The Asylum, Journey to a Known Place, North Winter, Contra Mortem and My Father’s Face.


Available: June 16 1970


The Collected Poems Of James Laughlin 1935-1997

Poetry by James Laughlin

with a contribution by Hayden Carruth

James Laughlin was best known as the publisher of New Directions Books, but he had also been a dedicated poet. His work is both modern—rich in technical experiment—and ancient—grounded in the Greek and Latin poets. Guy Davenport called Laughlin ’a very ironic Roman poet, and a very salty Greek one. Which is not to say that he imitates anybody, or offers plaster casts of antiquities. He is the real thing.’ Laughlin described himself as a writer of light verse. He could be witty but underneath the wit there are often pungent truths about the human condition. His work was notable for its range of subject matter, the originality of its invention, his restoration of the classical tradition, his wordplay, his satire, and the intensity of his love poems....’Who else,’ asked the critic Marjorie Perloff, ’wrote such bittersweet, ironic, rueful, erotic, tough-minded, witty love poems, poems that run the gamut from ecstacy to loss?’ This volume collects Laughlin’s poems from 1935 to 1997.


Available: January 01 2001