Anne Stevenson (1933-2020) was a major American and British poet. Born in Cambridge of American parents, she grew up in the States but has 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. Poems 1955-2005 is a remaking of Anne Stevenson’s earlier Collected Poems (Oxford University Press), drawing on over a dozen previous collections as well as new poems, with this book’s new thematic arrangements emphasising the craft, coherence and architecture of her life’s work. It was expanded to include poems from her first two Bloodaxe collections, Granny Scarecrow (2000) and A Report from the Border (2003).
'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
'Fifty years of powerful verse from one of Britain's major poets.' - Independent on Sunday
'...ordered in the manner of Wordsworth - by theme rather than by date... It is an intricate, essentially musical arrangement: the recasting by this classically trained pianist of her life's work as a single symphony.' - Kate Clanchy, The Guardian [on Poems 1955-2005]
‘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
‘One of the most important poets active in England today… she presents us with a complex reality where an intently sensory world inhabited by wilful resistant people is overlaid by ghosts, ideas, and spectral emissions: the historical, philosophical, and scientific – all dimensions of what obviously isn’t there and yet can’t be denied,’ – Emily Grosholz, Michigan Quarterly.
‘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, six from Poems 1955-2005 (Bloodaxe Books, 2005), and one (‘Beach Kites’) from Stone Milk (Bloodaxe Books, 2007): ‘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).