"A poet’s collected works is a type of autobiography. The first section, the earliest books, often sets the direction of style, themes and even personal details. James Tate’s much anthologized poem “The Lost Pilot,” in his debut book from the late 1960s, is an example. Indeed, it is about Tate’s father, who was killed in World War II. The overlap of verse and biography charges the poem with electricity. Midcareer books of poems develop themes further and, if the poet is good, add depth. Finally, the last poems are the culmination, where verse gains patina or dulls.
Exceptional poets inspire editors to compile the poets’ work for the future. Among those whose collected or selected works have been published recently are Tate, a former Kansas Citian; the late Lucille Clifton, an African-American woman whose work centers on justice; Wendell Berry, an activist farmer-poet;and C.P. Cavafy, an Egyptian poet of the Greek diaspora. All these versifiers continue to influence poets today.
|Publicity photo by Stephen Long|
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/09/21/3824796/collected-works-tell-poets-life.html#.UF8d95PqouI.twitter#storylink=cpy