William Meredith’s interest in exploring ways to order human existence in the face of chaos was always his principal thematic concern, although the complexity of this thematic focus deepened over time. This subtle shift in Meredith’s thematic vision, according to Guy Rotella, had to do with “the degree of confidence he feels in any of the methods and results,” along with his understanding of “the threats to its successful completion and to the maintenance of its gains.” Meredith’s disciplined and at times austere approach to this dilemma can be deceptively straightforward. He was a sophisticated poet who with his precise and elegant voice found, frequently within small and otherwise unnoticed domestic and natural events, the sublime. His moral quest for personal, public, and artistic order, even while acknowledging humankind’s tendency toward disorder, was a steadfast source of amazement and poetic inspiration.
Love Letter from an Impossible Land
Published in 1944 as part of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Love Letter from an Impossible Land is one of Meredith’s apprentice works, a collection of poems (a few written while Meredith was still an undergraduate) that is highly imitative. This work displays a willing commitment to traditional form, meter, and rhyme. Meredith’s academic style mirrors the work of many poets, including Matthew Arnold, William Butler Yeats, and W. H. Auden, as well as the...
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