Edward Field Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

Edward Field’s most important works, aside from his poetry, are the novels he wrote in collaboration with Neil Derrick under the collective pseudonym of Bruce Elliot. The most successful of these works was the novel Village (1982), a chronicle of life over many decades in Greenwich Village, New York.

Field also edited an anthology titled A Geography of Poets (1979), which was a notable effort to showcase the works of poets from all over the United States. In 1992, Field, collaborating with Gerald Locklin and Charles Stetler, edited A New Geography of Poets.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

In 1962, Edward Field’s first collection of poems, Stand Up, Friend, with Me, was named the Lamont Poetry Selection, and Field was subsequently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1963. He received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America in 1975, a Lambda Literary Award in 1992 for Counting Myself Lucky, a Rome Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts in 1981, and the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement and the W. H. Auden Award in 2005.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Crow, Kelly. “Time for Recalling the Departed and Reuniting the Long-Lost Related.” The New York Times, June 24, 2001, p. 6. A report on a reading by Field at the Mid-Manhattan Library, a building in which, when the building housed a department store, Field worked as a junior employee in 1942. Crow describes Field’s reading style (“he discarded the microphone . . . and . . . bellowed”) and records Field’s description of Eleanor Roosevelt, whom he had met in the same building nearly sixty years earlier.

Field, Edward. “The Poetry File.” In A Frieze for a Temple of Love. Santa Rosa, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1998. This collection of miscellaneous observations on poetry and poets provides a good perspective on Field’s insights and development as a poet. Always in the entertainer mode, Field tosses in a substantial amount of gossip as well.

Goldgar, Harry. “The Poets’ Selections: Two Distinguished American Poets Offer Worthwhile Volumes.” St. Petersburg Times, July 5, 1987, p. 7D. In a review of two poetry volumes, including Field’s New and Selected Poems from the Book of Life, Field’s friend Goldgar comments with enthusiasm on the poet’s “plain-speaking, gut-feeling, anti-establishment” works, praising their “accessibility” and lack of inhibition. Field had briefly been in residence at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Nelson, Emmanuel S., ed. Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003. Contains a biographical essay on Field that also analyzes his works.

Olson, Ray. Review of After the Fall. Booklist 104, no. 3 (October 1, 2007): 17. Olson praises Field’s work, calling it enjoyable to read. Notes that there is more anger and less humor in this volume.

Stetler, Charles, and Gerald Locklin. “Edward Field, Stand-Up Poet.” Minnesota Review 9, no. 1 (1969). This essential article by two of Field’s fellow poets celebrates his role in what the authors call “a full-scale renaissance of the Oral Tradition.” Stetler and Locklin are particularly enthusiastic about Field’s “movie poems” and the way they have “shaped or recorded patterns of our emotional lives.” Associating Field’s aesthetic with the media theory of Marshall McLuhan, this article explains how Field’s poetry, especially in actual performance, escapes the limitations of the printed page.