This selection of William Jay Smith's work of sixty years covers the entire career of one of America's acknowledged poetic masters. It moves from the dark pre-war lyrics ( Quail in Autumn) to the powerful long-lined free verse of the 1960s ( The Tin Can). Here are memorable WWII lyrics ( Dark Valentine) and masterful light verse ( The Tall Poets), displaying the wit that enlivens all of Smith's work. Previously uncollected poems range from a haunting delineation of the ironies of age in "The Shipwreck" to the dramatic intensity of The Cherokee Lottery, which deals with the forced removal of Indian tribes east of the Mississippi.
Praise for William Jay Smith:
"A most gifted and original poet... One of the very few who cannot be confused with anybody else."—Richard Wilbur
"William Jay Smith has been one of our best poets for more than sixty years, and The Cherokee Lottery is his masterwork: taut, harrowing, eloquent, and profoundly memorable."—Harold Bloom
"His best poems are unlike anything else in contemporary American literature... Although often based on realistic situations, Smith's compressed, formal lyrics develop language musically in a way which summons an intricate, dreamlike set of images and associations."—Dana Gioia
"William Jay Smith has given us many of the truest and purest poems an American has written: the most resonantly musical, the most magical."—X. J. Kennedy