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.