Anne Stevenson (1933-2020) was a major American and British poet. Born in Cambridge of American parents, she grew up in the States but lived in Britain for most of her adult life. Rooted in close observation of the world and acute psychological insight, her poems continually question how we see and think about the world. They are incisive as well as entertaining, marrying critical rigour with personal feeling, and a sharp wit with an original brand of serious humour. Her posthumously published Collected Poems is a remaking of Anne Stevenson’s earlier Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2005), expanded to include poems from her final three books, Stone Milk (2007), Astonishment (2012) and Completing the Circle (2020), drawing on sixteen collections which are presented in their original order of publication.
'Stevenson’s accomplishments as a poet are nothing short of vast. Her work is by turns tender-hearted, funny, argumentative and lyrical. Her sense of place is exquisitely refined, and place in her poems becomes a moral stance, a place to stand and regard the world.' – Jay Parini, The Guardian, paying tribute to Anne Stevenson
‘She’ll rightly be regarded as one of the major poets of our period. Her poems, written over decades, were rich in philosophy and humanity.’ – George Szirtes on Anne Stevenson, quoted on BBC Radio 3's The Verb
'Her meticulously crafted poetry was elegiac, witty, passionate and sharply visual.' – The Telegraph, paying tribute to Anne Stevenson
‘Her poems are remarkable for her penetrating questioning of the way we see things and her interpretation of the world around us.’ – Alan Taylor, The Herald (Scotland), paying tribute to Anne Stevenson
'Fifty years of powerful verse from one of Britain's major poets.' – Independent on Sunday
‘While Anne Stevenson is most certainly, and rightly, regarded as one of the major poets of our period, it has never been by virtue of this or that much anthologised poem, but by the work or mind as a whole. It is not so much a matter of the odd lightning-struck tree as of an entire landscape, and that landscape is always humane, intelligent and sane, composed of both natural and rational elements, and amply furnished with patches of wit and fury, which only serve to bring out the humanity.’ – George Szirtes, London Magazine
‘Her knowledge of botany, ornithology and other natural sciences is impressive, but her talent is for fusing the disciplines into an honest and humane account of our world, and expressing this through rhythm and form…She is wise without portentousness, her technique faultless and her imagination fiery, political and fresh.’ – Carol Rumens, The Independent [on A Report from the Border]
Anne Stevenson reads seven poems
Anne Stevenson reads seven poems now republished in her Collected Poems: ‘Making Poetry’, ‘Poem for a Daughter’, ‘A Marriage’, ‘Arioso Dolente’, ‘The Minister’, ‘Beach Kites’ and ‘Small Philosophical Poem’. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Anne Stevenson at Highgreen Manor, Tarset, Northumberland (next-door to Bloodaxe’s former Tarset office) on 23 February 2008. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).
Anne Stevenson: ‘In Passing’ (now ‘As the Past Passes’)
Anne Stevenson reads and discusses a poem then called ‘In Passing’ which she re-titled ‘As the Past Passes’ when she included it in her final collection, Completing the Circle. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Anne at her home in Durham on 8 March 2015 for the Transatlantic issue of the US journal Ploughshares edited by Neil Astley (issue 126, Spring 2015) in which this poem was first published.
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