Pegasus Award for Criticism

The Poems of T.S. Eliot edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.

This critical edition of T. S. Eliot’s Poems establishes a new text of the Collected Poems 1909–1962, rectifying accidental omissions and errors that have crept in during the century since Eliot’s astonishing debut, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." As well as the masterpieces, the edition contains the poems of Eliot’s youth, which were rediscovered only decades later, others that circulated privately during his lifetime, and love poems from his final years, written for his wife Valerie Eliot.

Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue have provided a commentary that illuminates the imaginative life of each poem. Calling upon Eliot’s critical writings, as well as his drafts, letters, and other original materials, they illustrate not only the breadth of Eliot’s interests and the range of his writings, but how it was that the author of "Gerontion" came to write "Triumphal March" and then Four Quartets. Thanks to the family and friends who recognized Eliot’s genius and preserved his writings from an early age, the archival record is exceptionally complete, enabling us to follow in unique detail the progress of a mind that never ceased exploring.

Poetry editor Don Share praises the volumes: “The authoritative and remarkable editing of the poems of T.S. Eliot by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue is unprecedented; their work illuminates every one of Eliot’s poems in ways unimaginable until now. This work will remain invaluable to readers and students of poetry for many generations.”

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