The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons

Volume 2 1978-2005

A. R. Ammons (Author), Robert M. West (Editor, Mississippi State University)

With an Introduction by Helen Vendler


An essential volume from “a master maker” (Richard Howard).

“If you will sit with me in the light // of speech, I will sit with you. . . .” Readers who accept that invitation will find themselves in extraordinary company. The Complete Poems of A. R. Ammons, Volume II presents the second half of Archie Randolph Ammons’s long career, including the complete texts of his two book-length poems from that period: Garbage, for which he won his second National Book Award, and Glare, which drew special praise from the Academy of American Poets as it bestowed on him its highest honor, the Wallace Stevens Award. In addition, two appendices offer over one hundred and twenty previously uncollected poems dating from the 1950s to the late 1990s.

Among this volume’s many highlights are celebrations of the natural world (such as “Hermit Lark” and “Lofty Calling”), poems of remembrance (as in “Chinaberry” and “Keeping Track”), prayers (“Singling & Doubling Together” and “Autonomy”), and compelling meditations on loss and mortality (such as “Easter Morning” and “In View of the Fact”). As in Volume I, the variety of scale is remarkable, ranging from the massiveness of Glare to the haiku-like brevity of “Pebble’s Story.”

The text of each poem has been established after careful consideration of Ammons’s manuscripts and other prepublication materials. Endnotes detail the poems’ composition and publication histories, and also helpfully annotate references made within the poems. Celebrated poetry critic Helen Vendler’s introduction both humanizes Ammons and traces the growth of his outsized stature as a major poet, “unquestionably among the best-loved poets of our time” (David Lehman).

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • December 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-25489-1
  • 6.6 × 9.6 in / 1088 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“[M]onumental and authoritative. . . . Ammons continued the American vernacular tradition of Whitman and Williams, pushing it in unexpected directions. . . . These books are large and sprawling and unwieldy, which is probably how Ammons would've wanted it.” — Publishers Weekly, Best Books 2017

Also by A. R. Ammons All

  1. Book CoverBosh and Flapdoodle: Poems


  2. Book CoverBriefings: Poems Small and Easy


  3. Book CoverA Coast of Trees


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