Collected Shorter Poems, 1966-1996

Collected Shorter Poems, 1966-1996

Collected Shorter Poems, 1966-1996

Collected Shorter Poems, 1966-1996


A selection of poems by a contemporary master John Peck's poems draw on both modernist and traditional resources, quarrying in the large gaps among contemporary readers of poetry. This definitive collection makes available difficult-to-find works by a remarkable, thoroughly original American poet. Peck's poems continue to attract a discerning, loyal audience of readers up to the challenge of confronting his astonishing range and ambitions.


This collection of work from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s represents what I stand by at the moment. One book appears entire, The Broken Blockhouse Wall (1978), as does most of Argura (1993). I have aimed at composing books rather than collections; from Poems and Translations of Hĭ-Lö (1991) to Selva Morale (1995), each book dovetails work from the immediate past with poems that had waited, in some cases many years, to find their berths. the uncollected poems included here now enter into the design, while the long poem M (1996) awaits a later gathering. the last two of the uncollected poems complete a suite, seven poems of which figure in the first section of Argura, all addressed to Termia, whose name one could translate, in a lightsome mood, as ‘the buck of inquiry stops here’. Her identity is finally interior.

I have excluded a number of translations from Hĭ-Lö, and have replaced one version of Ion Barbu with another poem by him. On a few occasions I have newly supplied an epigraph, and also have added some endnotes while augmenting a few earlier ones.

I owe thanks to Michael Schmidt for instigating this collection, and to Reginald Gibbons for making suggestions about an earlier version of it.

Brattleboro, Vermont, 1998 . . .

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