Cover image for The selected poems of Yvor Winters
The selected poems of Yvor Winters
Winters, Yvor, 1900-1968.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Poems. Selections
Publication Information:
Athens, Ohio : Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xlv, 128 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3545.I765 A6 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a friend, colleague, and teacher to poets of several generations from Hart Crane and Allen Tate to J. V. Cunningham, Turner Cassity, and Edgar Bowers to Robert Hass, Philip Levine, and Robert Pinsky. His impact on mid- to late-twentieth-century poetry is profound. This stems in large part from his own poetry, which was a reflection of his critical thinking about poetry, and which underwent substantive changes over his career as a poet. His collected poems won the Bollingen Prize in 1960.

This retrospective of one hundred poems, edited by the poet and publisher R. L. Barth, is compiled from Winters's published and unpublished work and features an introductory overview of his life and career by Helen Pinkerton Trimpi, a former student of Winters's and a distinguished scholar of American literature.

Author Notes

Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a poet, critic, and Stanford University professor of English literature. He won the Bollingen Prize in 1961.

R. L. Barth is the author of A Soldier's Time , Abandon Hope , and, most recently, First Morning, Last Night . As Robert L. Barth he is a publisher of chapbooks.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Winters (1900^-68) may still be better known as a notoriously irascible literary critic than as a poet. But he thought poetry was superior to criticism as literature, and he wrote and published it earlier. He abandoned his imagistic early style, however, choosing traditional meters and rhyme for a publicly engaged poetry in which he strove to continue classical Greek and Latin poetry's concern for social and individual virtue, consideration for how the present may affect futurity, and understanding that nothing lasts. One quarter of this selection showcases Winter's imagism. There is plenty of what Winters denounced as solipsism but also many strong word pictures in the early poems; the best of them invariably involve goats and goatherds (staples of classical poetry, by the way). The later, formal poems are stronger; their subjects are marriage and family, work (Winters' own, scholarship and teaching), nature, public events (especially World War II), and, in several superb poems on great figures from Greek myth and history, the life of public action. They make one wish the selection were bigger. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thirty years after his death, Winters (1900-1968) is still known primarily as the American poet-critic who gave up on "experimental" poetry to defend the resources of "traditional form." Critics point to Winters' early poems to portray him as an expert in these modes he later renounced, but like the later poems written under the sign of Ben Jonson they are uneven in quality. The very early "Two Songs of Advent" kicks off the book with its blend of Imagist technique and western, quasi-Native American thematics, and "The Cold" and "Jos‚'s Country" deserve to be better known. But much of the early Winters can seem inconsequential as well as belated next to the canonical modernist poetry it imitates. Early and late, the poems ceaselessly wrestle with ontological singularity and a hostile natureÄWinters's one certainty was deathÄand are rife with the screams of children and dogs, and images of a bleak American West. One appreciates the moments when the struggle against emotional excess is most at risk, as in "Song of the Trees" (with its exclamatory opening: "Belief is blind! Bees scream!") or "The Realization." Some better known poems such as "A View of Pasadena from the Hills" or "The Slow Pacific Swell" seem to have wrinkledÄto use a word strangely persistent in these poemsÄas have the pastoral settings and conventions. But there is enough that is still surprising in Winters, especially in his efforts to find a poetry adequate to public event, to urge that he be read by those beyond the faithful in his now-dwindling, Stanford-based circle. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

R. L. BarthHelen Pinkerton TrimpiR. L. Barth
The Dedicationp. v
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Introduction: Yvor Winters as Critic and Poetp. xvii
Two Songs of Adventp. 1
One Ran Beforep. 2
Song for a Small Boy Who Herds Goatsp. 3
Alonep. 4
Winter Echop. 5
Spring Rainp. 5
The Aspen's Songp. 5
God of Roadsp. 5
A Deerp. 5
The Precincts of Februaryp. 6
Jose's Countryp. 7
The Upper Meadowsp. 8
Moonrisep. 9
The Coldp. 10
Digue Dondaine, Digue Dondonp. 11
Nocturnep. 13
"Quod Tegit Omnia"p. 14
Song ("Where I walk out")p. 15
Aprilp. 16
The Cold Roomp. 17
The Barnyardp. 18
The Rows of Cold Treesp. 19
Prayer beside a Lampp. 20
Vacant Lotp. 21
The Deep: A Service for All the Deadp. 22
Demigodp. 23
Orange Treep. 24
Song of the Treesp. 25
The Goatherdsp. 26
The Vigilp. 27
Simplex Munditiisp. 28
Sonnet ("This God-envenomed loneliness, the stain")p. 29
The Moralistsp. 30
The Realizationp. 31
To William Dinsmore Briggs Conducting His Seminarp. 32
The Invadersp. 33
The Castle of Thornsp. 34
Apollo and Daphnep. 35
The Empty Hillsp. 36
Moonrisep. 37
Inscription for a Graveyardp. 38
The Last Visitp. 39
For Howard Bakerp. 40
The Slow Pacific Swellp. 41
The Marriagep. 43
On a View of Pasadena from the Hillsp. 44
The Journeyp. 47
A Visionp. 49
Anacreonticp. 52
To a Young Writerp. 53
For My Father's Gravep. 54
By the Road to the Air-Basep. 55
Elegy on a Young Airedale Bitch Lost Some Years Since in the Salt-Marshp. 56
Midasp. 57
Sonnet to the Moonp. 58
Before Disasterp. 59
The Princep. 60
Phasellus Illep. 61
Orpheusp. 62
On the Death of Senator Thomas J. Walshp. 63
Dedication for a Book of Criticismp. 64
A Leave-Takingp. 65
On Teaching the Youngp. 66
Chironp. 67
Heraclesp. 68
Alcmenap. 70
Theseus: A Trilogyp. 71
Socratesp. 76
John Day, Frontiersmanp. 78
John Sutterp. 79
The California Oaksp. 81
On Rereading a Passage from John Muirp. 83
The Manzanitap. 84
Sir Gawaine and the Green Knightp. 85
An October Nocturnep. 87
Much in Littlep. 88
The Cremationp. 89
An Elegyp. 90
Time and the Gardenp. 92
A Prayer for My Sonp. 93
In Praise of California Winesp. 94
A Summer Commentaryp. 95
On the Portrait of a Scholar of the Italian Renaissancep. 96
A Winter Eveningp. 97
Summer Noon: 1941p. 98
To a Military Riflep. 99
For the Opening of the William Dinsmore Briggs Roomp. 101
At the Site of the Murphy Cabinp. 102
Moonlight Alertp. 103
To the Holy Spiritp. 104
A Song in Passingp. 106
At the San Francisco Airportp. 107
To Herbert Dean Merittp. 108
Bibliography of Yvor Winters's Books of Poetryp. 109
Notesp. 111
Index of Poem Titles and First Linesp. 125