This second volume of James Schevill's collected poems is a companion to his remarkable ongoing sequence of poems, The American Fantasies, published by Swallow in 1983. This collection extends the scope of the poet's concern with American power and influences to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. In these poems, Schevill reveals again the range of his lyrical and dramatic powers. As M.I. Rosenthal has written, Schevill has \u201ca scholar's appetite for genuine knowledge, a playwright's feeling for vigorous detail illuminating personalities and situation, and a lyric poet's gift for catching emotional essences and nuances.\u201d
Of The American Fantasies, Richard Eberhart has said that the collection \u201c...has a Rushmore largeness, a compendious nature, straightforward presentations covering continent-cast experiences over a long period of time...formidable richness of true feelings in monumental unity of tone and strength...This book has a dazzling number of magnificent poems.\u201d
Ambiguous Dancers of Fame restores to print most of Schevill's significant work that has been out of print and, combined with The American Fantasies, represents his life's work in poetry. Together, the two books illustrate James Schevill's lifelong pursuit of the unique problems of American identity.