Not an ounce of surplus fat, all beautifully spry and clean-limbed. Just the sort of testament one owes to life and nothing wanting.—Charles Tomlinson
The poetry of the late James Laughlin (1914-97) spans a period of over sixty years, from the first verses written in his signature "typewriter" metric to the most recent pieces that open his Poems New and Selected. Laughlin reveals himself in his poems as a master of concision, of the well-placed word that penetrates the human heart. Over two hundred and twenty-five poems included here show his technical brilliance as well: in short- and long-line poems; in the three-stress verses of his autobiographical "Byways"; in "Epigrams," amatory and otherwise, and "Pentastichs"; in idiosyncratic "(American) French" poems and their translations of his own devising. For readers coming to Laughlin’s work for the first time, this collection will be a sea of undiscovered riches, and for longtime devotees, a chance to ply once again the well-chartered waters of his poetry.