A Thickness of Particulars: The Poetry of Anthony Hecht

ISBN : 9780199660711

Jonathan F. S. Post
320 ページ
149 x 222 mm

A Thickness of Particulars: The Poetry of Anthony Hecht is the first book-length study of one of the great formal poets of the later twentieth century (1923-2004). Making use of Hecht's correspondence, which the author edited, it situates Hecht's writings in the context of pre- and post-World-War II verse, including poetry written by W. H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, James Merrill, and Richard Wilbur. In nine chapters, the book ranges over Hecht's full career, with special emphasis placed on the effects of the war on his memory; Hecht participated in the final push by the Allied troops in Europe and was involved in the liberation of the Flossenburg Concentration Camp. The study explores the important place Venice and Italy occupied in his imagination as well as the significance of the visual and dramatic arts and music more generally. Chapters are devoted to analyzing celebrated individual poems (such as "The Book of Yolek" and "The Venetian Vespers," the making of particular volumes (such as the Pulitzer-prize-winning The Hard Hours), the poet's mid-career turn toward writing dramatic monologues and longer narrative poems (such as "Green, an Epistle," "The Grapes," and "See Naples and Die"), the inspiring use he made of Shakespeare, especially in "A Love for Four Voices," his delightful riff on A Mid-summer Night's Dream, and his collaboration with the artist Leonard Baskin in the Presumptions of Death Series. The book seeks to unfold the itinerary of a highly civilized mind brooding, with wit, over the dark landscape of the later twentieth century in poems of unrivalled beauty.


1. ": The Sestina and the Tattoo
2. Circa 1950: Eclectic Hecht Among the Nightingales
3. About Suffering: History, Domesticity, and the Making of The Hard Hours
4. Stretching Out, Looking Within: In Medias Res, with James Merrill
5. ": "
6. ": Hecht's Ekphrastic Poetry
7. Shechtspeare
8. Surveying the Later Poems: The Transparent Man and Flight Among the Tombs
9. The Darkness and the Light and the Art of Reticence


Jonathan Post teaches and writes primarily on early modern and modern and contemporary poetry. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Rochester, studying primarily under Joseph Summers and Anthony Hecht. His interests include art, music, and literature. He was Chair of the UCLA English Department from 1990-1993, and has served several times as interim dean of Humanities. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and The Bogliasco Foundation.