A generous sampler of poems selected from seven previous collections--in addition to eleven new poems--PARTIAL ACCOUNTS reflects the artistic journey of one of the elder statesmen of American poetry, a steady voice who has been singing intelligently and sonorously for more than forty years.
Often formal in construction--the sonnet is one of his favorite forms -- William Meredith’s early works reflect the mid-century concerns for New Critical conventions--wit, irony, ambiguity. The poems seem stiff, unemotive to the contemporary reader. The poems swim the surface rather than dive for the depths. While recognized early in his career for his talents -- his first collection, LETTERS FROM AN IMPOSSIBLE LAND, was chosen by Archibald MacLeish for the Yale Series of Younger poets--Meredith’s work saw maturity in his 1958 collection THE OPEN SEA. As his poetry matured, so, too, did his reputation within national and international poetry circles, garnering for him a number of prestigious and distinguished awards, including the Loines Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a senior fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a chancellorship from the Academy of American Poets. From 1978 to 1980, Meredith held the prestigious post of Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.
PARTIAL ACCOUNTS is a book to be placed upon library shelves not so much because it is a great book but because it gives testimony to a writer’s life and commitment to his art. It is a book which will help the reader understand how dedication and patience with craft are crucial to lasting art, as well as offering proof that sustained effort given to the craft will create a singular voice.