ELS 108. 520 pages (est.) $40.00. ISBN 978-1-55058-456-1.
A.R. Ammons was a member of a remarkable generation of American poets. Born in the 1920s, these poets came of age with the second world war and came to prominence in the 1960s, a decade with which some of their most characteristic work is still closely identified. They are now part of our cultural and literary history. A generous selection of Ammons’s letters and journals, An Image for Longing will promote a renovated understanding of this important poet, sending readers back to his classic work with new appreciation, by drawing a picture of his career from its beginnings in the 1950s, through the 1960s, the decade of his remarkable ascendancy, to the culmination of its first phase with the publication of his major work, Sphere: the Form of a Motion, in 1974.
The story covered in An Image for Longing has several interconnected strands. It is a story of a career, the external matter of it: journal publications, contacts in the field, trying to publish a book; books published, positions, awards, fame. It is also the story the growth of a poet’s mind, as Ammons as an artist and intellectual, fulfilling certain potentials present in the letters of the 1950s, and gradually finding a way—a form and rhetoric—to articulate them fully in Sphere. Finally, it is the story of a man, awkward in the human realm, troubled in relations, but gradually finding a rest there. As he writes to his friend Harold Bloom on completing Sphere again: “I never felt as connected to other humans as I have since I finished the poem.”
Edited by Matte Robinson, St. Thomas University, and Demetres Tryphonopoulos, University of New Brunswick
ELS 109. 200 pages (est.) $28.00. ISBN 978-1-55058-391-5.
In her late work H.D. was concerned with uniting the myths she had created about the different periods in her life. She actively searched for correspondences between people, events, and objects so as to recast them in the final version of her mythos, to find their timeless value. The Hirslanden Notebooks (written 1957-59) were kept during H.D.’s stay at the place of her eventual death, the Hirslanden Klinik, in 1957, and continued while she was staying at the Klinik Brunner at Küsnacht. A collection of dreamwork and reflections, they are to her late work what parts of Majic Ring and Tribute to Freud were to her World War II years: a workbook with which she plumbed her psyche and mapped the images populating it. The important people and events in her life blend with her dream-images; her occult philosophy fuels this quest and is transformed, edited by the information she brings back from dreams and processes in the notebooks. This is the wellspring from which her poetry and fiction are fed.
Read alongside her other late work (including Magic Mirror, Compassionate Friendship and Thorn Thicket), The Hirslanden Notebooks offer not only raw material drawn directly from her dreams but also insight into the quick associative processes—crisscrossing the hazy borderline between memoir and invention—that characterize all phases of her work but come to their finale in her late cycle of fiction and poetry. Moreover (and together with the other prose works of the late 1950s), The Hirslanden Notebooks serve the same function for the reading of H.D.’s late poetry (Vale Ave and Hermetic Definition) that her prose work of the mid-1940s (including The Gift, Majic Ring and Tribute to Freud) does vis-à-vis Trilogy.