Cover image for The owner of the house : new collected poems, 1940-2001
The owner of the house : new collected poems, 1940-2001
Simpson, Louis, 1923-2012.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Rochester, NY : BOA Editions, [2003]

Physical Description:
407 pages ; 23 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3537.I75 A6 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Few poets have so artfully confronted American life as Louis Simpson. Persona speakers struggle with everyday issues against a backdrop of larger forces, the individual's maladjustment to a culture of materialism and brutal competition, the failure of marriage under the pressures of such a society, the failure of the American dream. Simpson wages a lover's quarrel with the world.

"Louis Simpson has perfect pitch. His poems win us first by their drama, their ways of voicing our ways . . . of making do with our lives. Then his intelligence cajoles us to the brink of a cliff of solitude and we step over into the buoyant element of true poetry."--Seamus Heaney

Educated at Munro College (West Indies) and at Columbia University, Louis Simpson has taught widely, most recently at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is the author of seventeen books of poetry and ten works of prose. He has received fellowships from the Academy of American Poetry, the Hudson Review , the Guggenheim Foundation, and received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Author Notes

Educated at Munro College (Jamaica, West Indies) and at Columbia where he received his doctorate, Louis Simpson has taught at various universities. The author of seventeen books of poetry, he has received the Rome Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Hudson Review Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation fellowships, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Simpson is one of the most memorable contributors to the outstanding Poets of World War II BKL Mr 15 03. His war experiences in the infantry in Europe were hairier than those of most American soldier-poets, who flew or served away from the front. The war preoccupies his early work, which includes most of his most impressive poems. Those, regular in rhyme and meter, often achieve their edgy power by balancing grim content against the plucky mood of their jingly rhythms. After the war, Simpson became a literature professor without forsaking his public voice and concerns. Switching to unrhymed, even-lined verse, he wrote of gray comforts and desperate strivings (often just so much adultery) in the suburbs; of travel and travel observations; and of his Russianewish heritage, which somehow led to his own upbringing inamaica while too many relatives went to Auschwitz. Read chronologically, his poems constitute the record of a finely intelligent and democratic man's journey from heroism to warm, common citizenship--a life one can envy. --Ray Olson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Poet, critic, and novelist Simpson has been a literary star for nearly three generations. In this anthology he opens with 42 new poems and continues with selections from his 11 previous books, ending with There You Are. This work is filled with evocations of places like Jamaica, Manhattan, Paris, and Venice and range over time from tsarist Russia to World War II to the 1960s. Simpson's obsessive theme is the stultifying effect of middle-class suburban life, with its "cars and power mowers," a wasteland where Whitman's Open Road leads "to the used car lot" and the smug populace "doesn't read anything." Simpson also includes two very readable narrative poems, "The Runner" and "The Previous Tenant." And he goes beyond social commentary to probe "things/ as hidden as a heart" and even notes how "a butterfly/ writes dark lines on the air." The result is a collection both timely and accessible, always telling "of love and infinite wonder." Highly recommended for all poetry collections.-Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.