Synopses & Reviews
From Harold Bloom, the foremost literary critic of our time, comes a delightful anthology of the final works of great poets. In Till I End My Song, Bloom has meticulously curated the last poems of one hundred influential poets. These poems, sometimes the literal end and other times the imagined conclusion to a poetic career, offer a lens through which to contemplate the enduring nature of art and the inevitability of death. Bloom's selections highlight the work of the canonized poets T. S. Eliot, Alexander Pope, W. B. Yeats, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and William Shakespeare, but also revive interest in distinguished but long-neglected poets, such as Conrad Aiken, William Cowper, Edwin Arlington Robinson, George Meredith, and Louis MacNeice. An authoritative collection of last poems, Till I End My Song will reverberate long into the coming silence.
Bloom may be the most famous poetry critic in the English language. As he approached his 80th birthday he turned his critical faculties toward the subject of death: this surprisingly enjoyable anthology contains the last poems or the poems that most profoundly contemplate "lastness" by 100 poets from Edmund Spenser (d. 1599) to Agha Shahid Ali (d. 2001). Bloom seeks to show through his selections and commentaries on each poem that death can be as much an inspiration as a terror. With their last breaths these poets address God (as John Donne does: "Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun/ Which is my sin though it were done before?"); future generations (Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his "Epitaph" tells those who pass his gravestone "Beneath this sod/ A poet lies" who "Found death in life" and who hopes to "find life in death!"); a vast public and private self (Frost said "I opened the door so my last look/ Should be taken outside a house and book"). James Wright finds a new kind of life in the apprehension of his mortality: "How can I feel so warm/ Here in the dead center of January?" Throughout Bloom's brief prose comments illuminate and entertain. (Oct.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
“A collection of surpassing splendor and resonance.” Booklist
“[Bloom looks] to poems for clarity about the end of life.” New York Times Book Review
From W.H. Auden to Walt Whitman, this collection of last poems by great poetsfeatures extensive commentary by Bloom.
“A colossus among critics. . . . His enthusiasm for literature is a joyous intoxicant.” —New York Times
In this charming anthology, esteemed literary critic Harold Bloom collects the last poems of history's most important and celebrated poets. As with his immensely popular Best Poems of the English Language, Bloom has carefully curated and annotated the final works of one hundred poets in Till I End My Song, with selections from John Keats, T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, D.H. Lawrence, W.H. Auden, John Milton, Herman Melville, Emily Brontë, and others. Written with the same wise and discerning commentary of earlier books—including his acclaimed Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human and The Book of J—Till I End My Song is a moving and provocative meditation on the relationship between art, meaning, and ultimately, death, from the literary titan of our time.
About the Author
Harold Bloom is a Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale University and a former Charles Eliot Norton Professor at Harvard. His more than thirty books include The Best Poems of the English Language, The Art of Reading Poetry, and The Book of J. He is a MacArthur Prize Fellow, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the recipient of many awards and honorary degrees, including the Academys Gold Medal for Belles Lettres and Criticism, the International Prize of Catalonia, and the Alfonso Reyes Prize of Mexico.