James Laughlin first published a selection of Greenberg’s poems as Poems from the Greenberg Manuscripts in 1939. Harold Holden and Jack McManis edited a more comprehensive overview, which included Greenberg’s autobiographical piece “Between Historical Life,” in Poems by Samuel Greenberg: A Selection from the Manuscripts (1947). Self Charm: Selected Sonnets and Other Poems, another selection of Greenberg’s work,was edited by Michael Carr and Michael Smith and published in 2005.
Sometimes described as a “second-wave Modernist,” and said to have anticipated surrealism, Greenberg’s work is known for its semantic and syntactic idiosyncrasies and strange flights of diction; Charles Bernstein has called Greenberg’s poetry “a radical form of sprung lyric—a wild, sound-wracked syntactic syncretism that verges on the abstract and the rhapsodic, which I associate with Crane and Hopkins (and which also brings Blake to mind), but might also be described as a cross between Leo Gorcey reciting Shakespeare and the poetical works of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.” Greenberg’s papers, including over 600 poems and fifteen notebooks, are housed in the Fales Collection at New York University.
POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic
SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern
LIFE SPAN 1893–1917