Collected Poems, 1930-1993 provides some five hundred pages of May Sarton’s poetry from her first volume, Encounter in April (1937), through The Silence Now: New and Collected Earlier Poems (1988). The collection is a tribute to an author who has been prolific for more than six decades in the literary genre that she most admires, poetry. This collection, while not including all her published poems, clearly demonstrates Sarton’s power as a creative artist and reveals that her later poetry is some of her most memorable.
The book lets the poems speak for themselves. There is no bibliography, merely a list of the titles of forty-eight books—poetry, novels, nonfiction, and books for children—that Sarton has published. (Other books published after 1988 are not listed, including two 1992 volumes of poetry, Coming into Eighty and Now I Become Myself.) There is no introduction, no footnotes, and no commentary. The index lists only titles and first lines of the poems, rather than covering topics.
The collection is divided into fourteen sections, each given the title of one of fourteen volumes of Sarton’s previously published poetry. The sections are dated with the years in which the poems were written, such as the first section, “Encounter in April (1930-1937).” The final section ends in 1988, so the collection does not actually extend to 1993. Between 1937 and 1988, Sarton published...
(The entire section is 527 words.)