SPENDER, Sir Stephen Harold. Recent Poems. London: Ithaca Press Ltd for Anvil Press Poetry, 1978. 

Quarto (176 x 134mm), pp. [8]. Original maroon wrappers, printed grey dustwrapper. (Dustwrapper lightly faded on spine, minimally rubbed at edges.) A fine copy in a very good dustwrapper.

First edition, no. 374 of 400 copies, signed and numbered by the author. A collection of four poems – ‘From my Diary’, ‘Late Stravinsky Listening to Late Beethoven’, ‘Winter in May’, and ‘A Girl who has Drowned Herself Speaks’ – published in the sixty-ninth year of Spender’s life, and its last phase, a period marked by the deaths of (i.a.) Auden in 1973 and Connolly in 1974; Spender’s retirement from his chair in English at University College, London in 1975; and the publication of the partially-autobiographical volume The Thirties and After; Poetry, Politics, People (1933-1975) in 1978. David Leeming comments that, ‘[t]he most important of the four poems [in Recent Poems] is “Late Stravinsky Listening to Late Beethoven”, dedicated to Sacheverell Sitwell, who had died recently and who in the poem is implicitly identified with the dying Stravinsky’ (Stephen Spender: A Life in Modernism). 


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