Emotion is disciplined in the precision of his diction and the strictness of his idiosyncratic form.
—Denise Levertov

The Collected Poems of James Laughlin

Poetry by James Laughlin

Edited by Peter Glassgold

Published in Laughlin’s centenary year, The Collected Poems of James Laughlin encompasses in one majestic volume all the poetry (with the exception of his verse memoirs, Byways) written by the publisher-poet. Witty, technically brilliant, slyly satiric, and heartbreakingly poignant, Laughlin charted his own poetic course for over six decades, prompting astonishment and joy in fellow poets.

Compiled and edited by Peter Glassgold, Laughlin’s chosen poetry editor, The Collected Poems includes more than 1250 poems—from the early lyrics written in Laughlin’s signature “typewriter” metric, to the “long-line” poems of his later years, to the playful antics of his doppelgänger Hiram Handspring, to the trenchant commentary of the five-line pentastichs that occupied his last days.

Despite all the awards and accolades that James Laughlin received for his service to literature, the honor that pleased him most was his election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1996)—as a poet. 

Editions: Clothbound

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James Laughlin

James Laughlin was the founder of New Directions and author of several collections of poetry

Emotion is disciplined in the precision of his diction and the strictness of his idiosyncratic form.
—Denise Levertov
Four paths of a lifetime's learning converge: Eroticism, from the Sanskrit; Satire, from the Latin; Plain Speech, from the American; and, above all, from the Greek: Perfection.
—Eliot Weinberger
Witty, elegiac, sexy, satiric, naughty, poignant, wise, Laughlin's poems amount to a personal anthropology of our world as fetchingly readable as those of the old masters in Greece and China.
—Guy Davenport
James Laughlin, who brought forth so much of the best writing of this century, stands in the company of the greatest modern American poets.
—Gary Snyder
Who else wrote such bittersweet, ironic, rueful, erotic, tough-minded, witty love poems, poems that run the gamut from ecstacy to loss?
—Marjorie Perloff