The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan

The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan

The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan

The Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan

Synopsis

This landmark collection brings Ted Berrigan's published and unpublished poetry together in a single authoritative volume for the first time. Edited by the poet Alice Notley, Berrigan's second wife, and their two sons, The Collected Poems demonstrates the remarkable range, power, and importance of Berrigan's work.

Excerpt

I heard Ted say more than once that his collected poems should be like a collected
books. But he didn’t always work in sequences, and he wasn’t always consciously in
the process of writing a book. He wrote many individual poems, and he sometimes
seemed to write purely for fun. As for publication, publishers would approach him
for a book without knowing exactly what he had, and sometimes it didn’t seem to him
as if he had that much. If there was a sequence ready, or a book in a unified style like
Many Happy Returns, certainly he published that. If he had a stack of dissimilar
works or if he didn’t even know what he had, he still set about the process of con
structing a “book.” He loved to make things out of pieces, often ones that didn’t fit to
gether conventionally. A book was like a larger poem that could be as much “made”
out of what was at hand, as “written” in a continuous way out of a driving idea.

This volume is an attempt to be a collected books, but it can’t be that precisely
and so isn’t called The Collected Books. Though Ted wrote sequences and con
structed books, he didn’t produce a linear succession of discrete, tidy volumes. He
perceived time as overlapping and circular; the past was always alive and relevant,
and a particular poem might be as repeatable as an individual line or phrase was
for him from the time of the composition of The Sonnets onward. How were we,
the editors, to deal with repetitions of poems from book to book? Most especially
what were we to do about the book-length sequence Easter Monday?

Ted worked for years on Easter Monday, which he didn’t call finished until
shortly before his death, when he finalized the selection and order. Meanwhile . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.