New Books for Wintry Reading

I ordered two books that I’ve had on and off my wish list for ages with some Christmas money:

1) Collected Poems by James Merrill

I hadn’t heard of him until last fall, but what an interesting guy. As well as being the son of the co-founder of the Merrill Lynch investment firm, he was a prolific poet and wrote the strangest epic poem in three installments over 20 years with his partner. The first book was Divine Comedies, and the format is based on Dante; the second was Mirabell: Books on Numbers; and the third was Scripts for the Pageant. All three books were released in one omnibus volume called The Changing Light at Sandover. What a great title. He won the Pulitzer for Divine Comedies.

His Collected Poems (which does not include the long poem) is supposed to be very good. I only have two examples of his poetry in my current anthologies, one of which was about his father’s Irish setters and interesting. Sometimes he wrote free verse and sometimes he wrote in more classic forms, but I was keen to explore further. I couldn’t afford The Changing Light at Sandover, even in a used edition it was $20 or more, so I’ll enjoy this book.


2) Continuing with my fascination with the history of publishing and the book trade, I bought Miniature Books : 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures by Anne C. Bromer in a lovely hardcover edition with gilt edges. This looks like a real joy to read and have in my collection.


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