The definitive anthology of Reynolds Price's accomplishments in poetry over four decades, The Collected Poems opens with a preface that discusses his beginnings, guides, and methods; it then includes his first three collections in their entirety -- Vital Provisions, The Laws of Ice, and The Use of Fire -- and adds a new volume, The Unaccountable Worth of the World, eighty-five more recent poems that offer striking departures as they continue to embody Price's close attention to the exterior and the interior worlds of a lengthening and unexpectedly complex life. The Collected Poems reveals, throughout, the accumulated variety of Reynolds Price's years as a poet -- the thematic breadth, formal steadiness, narrative vitality, and intense lyricism that have marked his work from the start. It is a landmark in a creative life that now includes more than thirty books -- poems, novels, plays, essays, translations -- and in the span of contemporary American verse.
Reynolds Price (1933-2011) was born in Macon, North Carolina. Educated at Duke University and, as a Rhodes Scholar, at Merton College, Oxford University, he taught at Duke beginning in 1958 and was the James B. Duke Professor of English at the time of his death. His first short stories, and many later ones, are published in his Collected Stories. A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962 and won the William Faulkner Award for a best first novel. Kate Vaiden was published in 1986 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. The Good Priest's Son in 2005 was his fourteenth novel. Among his thirty-seven volumes are further collections of fiction, poetry, plays, essays, and translations. Price is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and his work has been translated into seventeen languages.
Mary Oliver [Price] is as erotic as Auden, as life-loving as Keats, as religious as Hopkins....The reader senses that here is the true country of poetry -- not merely poignant, but ecstatic, unbearable, and revelatory.
Anthony Hecht The populous no-man's-land between dream and waking, the human and the divine, the living and the dead, constitutes the uncanny yet strangely familiar locale of Reynolds Price's extraordinary poems which are by turns lovely and frightening, tender and troubled, but always eloquent and moving....The Collected Poems is an astonishing and singular achievement.