Complete Poems
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Complete Poems

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Containing more than three hundred poems, including nearly a hundred previously unpublished works, this unique collection showcases the intellectual range of Claude McKay (1889-1948), the Jamaican-born poet and novelist whose life and work were marked by restless travel and steadfast social protest. McKay's first poems were composed in rural Jamaican creole and launched his lifelong commitment to representing everyday black culture from the bottom up. Migrating to New York, he reinvigorated the English sonnet and helped spark the Harlem Renaissance with poems such as \u0022If We Must Die.\u0022 After coming under scrutiny for his communism, he traveled throughout Europe and North Africa for twelve years and returned to Harlem in 1934, having denounced Stalin's Soviet Union. By then, McKay's pristine \u0022violent sonnets\u0022 were giving way to confessional lyrics informed by his newfound Catholicism. McKay's verse eludes easy definition, yet this complete anthology, vividly introduced and carefully annotated by William J. Maxwell, acquaints readers with the full transnational evolution of a major voice in twentieth-century poetry.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 672 pages
  • 154.94 x 223.52 x 35.56mm | 861.82g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252069218
  • 9780252069215
  • 1,299,546

Back cover copy

Although best known for his tales, Edgar Allan Poe himself thirsted for fame primarily as a poet. This volume, assembled by the eminent Poe scholar Thomas Ollive Mabbott, is the single most authoritative edition of Poe's poems ever published: 101 poems and their variants, including such gems as "The Raven", "The Bells", and "Annabel Lee", as well as previously uncollected poems, fragments, verses he published in reviews he wrote, and poems attributed to him.In this exhaustive collection, Mabbott takes a fresh look at these texts, aiming "to present what [Poe] wrote, to explain why he wrote it, to tell what he meant when he wrote it (if that be in any way obscure), and to give a history of its publication". Containing the definitive poems as well as pertinent biographical background, full annotations, and a meticulous enumeration of successive texts and variants, Mabbott's edition stands as a firm foundation for Poe scholarship as well as for more general appreciation.show more

Review quote

"Mabbott's full-dress edition of the poems ... carries the authority of having been done from first to last by the one scholar best equipped to do it." -- Times Literary Supplement "Mabbott was recognized as unquestionably the dean of all Poe authorities, in the sweep and depth of his scholarly expertise in a class by himself... The Poems is almost unimaginably complete." -- Southern Literary Journal "Massive and important... There is something for everyone, be he novice or intelligent layman, student or specialist." -- American Literatureshow more

About Claude McKay

A pioneer of black modernism, Claude McKay's varied and influential books include the poetry collections Harlem Shadows and Songs of Jamaica, and the novels Banjo, Home to Harlem, and Banana Bottom.William J. Maxwell is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the author of the award-winning New Negro, Old Left: African-American Writing and Communism between the Wars.show more

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