Within a decade of her death in 1987, each of Ann Stanford's ten books had slipped out of print and her final manuscript—completed just before she died—remained unpublished. Through the effort of two former students, this creeping silence will finally end with the publication of this major selected poems. Like her fellow Californians Robinson Jeffers and Gary Snyder, Stanford's poems are consumed by natural landscape and lost nature. Yet she is an urban poet, a poet of Los Angeles who published poetry, criticism, a translation of The Bhagavad Gita, and the first major anthology of women's poetry.
Listening to Color
Now that blue has had its say
has told its winds, wall, sick
sky even, I can listen to white
sweet poison flowers hedge autumn
under a sky white at the edges
like faded paper. My message keeps
turning to yellow where few leaves
set up first fires over branches
tips of flames only, nothing here finished yet.
"All she knows, though it's awesome, doesn't clog her spontaneity or impede the freshness of her senses. The whole book is brave and good."—May Swenson
"Crystalline would be the word for the illuminating clarity of Ann Stanford's poetry—except that hers is not an inorganic but a living crystal. Few poets today better exemplify the criteria of wholeness, harmony, and radiance that the great philosopher said all art should possess. Hers is an intimate but luminous vitality."—Kenneth Rexroth
"She is one of our best lyricists."—James Dickey
Ann Stanford (1916-1987) lived her whole life in Southern California. With degrees from Stanford and U.C.L.A., she taught at California State University for twenty-five years. Her books were published by Viking and the influential Swallow Press, and her poems appeared regularly in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and many other magazines.
Holding Our Own
A summer without passion
our selves pulled together
like the leaves surrounding the branches
each branch part of the tree
the tree round, holding its own in the air.
The music begins
round globes of sound
weld it togethe
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But in her impressive final two volumes (In Mediterranean Air and Dreaming the Garden), the increasingly self-conscious poet overlays her beloved California landscape with that of the Mediterranean, melding modern memory with Renaissance epic and classical myth, meditating on the troubled space ...| Read Full Review of Holding Our Own : The Selecte...