Poetry, Essays, and Letters | Wyatt’s World

Fall is the season for big novels and important nonfiction. Perhaps lost in the onslaught are smaller gems, such as these five anthologies.

  • The Complete Poems of A.R. Ammons. Vols. 1 & 2, by A.R. Ammons; ed. by Robert M. West (Norton).
    Showcasing the talent and creativity that earned Ammons multiple honors, including two National Book Awards and the Wallace Stevens Award, this exhaustive and important set gathers the work of Archie Randolph Ammons (1926–2001), one of America’s most significant poets.
  • The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick, by Elizabeth Hardwick; ed. by Darryl Pinckney (New York Review of Books).
    Elizabeth Hardwick (1916–2007) once ruled the book world with her cutting wit and keen eye, making sure there was little give in the criticism of the New York Review of Books, a magazine she cofounded. With essays of penetrating observation, this collection highlights her vivid mind and voice.
  • The Best American Essays 2017; ed. by Leslie Jamison (Mariner: Houghton Harcourt). Essays are having a moment, once again shaping the national conversation with pointed writings on diverse subjects. This annual compilation supports this trend, with pieces political, cultural, and scientific.
  • Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, by Mary Oliver (Penguin).
    Oliver, a poet who steals the breath with her fine observations and arresting lyrical aesthetic of hard shapes and goose bump–inducing lines, offers a key collection of poems, representing some 50 years of writing. For her many fans, this is cause to celebrate.
  • The Letters of Sylvia Plath. Vol. 1: 1940–1956, by Sylvia Plath (Harper).
    Plath (1932–63) is a symbol, a rope in a literary and cultural tug-of-war, a poet whose work defines a generation. This first volume of letters provides readers with the chance to dive into her intimate and self-aware ruminations and ambitions, to see that which she’d hoped to present to the world.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt is LJ's reader's advisory columnist. She writes The Reader's Shelf, RA Crossroads, Book Pulse, and Wyatt's World columns. She is currently revising The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction, 3d ed. (ALA Editions, 2018). Contact her at nwyatt@mediasourceinc.com.

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