Once and for All: The Best of Delmore Schwartz

Delmore Schwartz, edited by Craig Morgan Teicher. New Directions, $17.95 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-8112-2432-1
Readers may view this new compendium as a feast, or just a tasting menu designed to entice one deeper into Schwartz’s oeuvre. Either way, it shows the depth and diversity of his work. There are two pieces of fiction (one, a novella), scores of poems plucked from various published collections, three pieces of literary criticism, and several letters that, if they don’t enhance Schwartz’s literary reputation directly, peg him as an intriguing friend of the greats: Ezra Pound, Allen Tate, William Carlos Williams, and others. The lengthy introduction by John Ashbery serves the same purpose, discussing some of the included work, as well as placing Schwartz (1913–1966) in a literary context. Most interesting are previously unpublished fragments from a book-length study of T.S. Eliot that was never finished. “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” a compelling short story, is set in 1909 and features the Coney Island boardwalk, a fortune teller, and childhood dreams. “The World Is a Wedding,” the novella, is a quiet and sometimes rambling coming-of-age story, told in short, titled chapters—each of which has immersive and sometimes provocative exchanges. The generous serving of poetry includes selections from five books, as well as a pair of unpublished poems and two unique verse dramas. This is a consistently intriguing volume that devotees and neophytes will want on their shelf. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/01/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-0-8112-2433-8
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