Since the appearance in print of her early poems over seventy-five years ago, the poetry of Janet Lewis has grown in quiet acclaim and popularity. Although she is better known as a novelist of historical fiction, her first and last writings were poems. With the publication of her selected poems, Swallow Press celebrates the distinguished career of one of its most cherished authors.
Critics as disparate as Kenneth Rexroth, Timothy Steele, Theodore Roethke, Larry McMurtry, N. Scott Momaday, and Dana Gioia have sung the praises of her work over the decades. Her career as a poet was remarkable not only for its longevity but also for the fact that even well into her tenth decade she wrote poems that stand with her very best work.
Characterized by the vigor and sharpness of her images and the understated lyricism that permeates her rhythmic lines, The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis is a survey of modern poetry unto itself.
Janet Lewis was a novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose literary career spanned almost the entire twentieth century. The New York Times has praised her novels as "some of the 20th century's most vividly imagined and finely wrought literature." Born and educated in Chicago, she lived in California for most of her adult life and taught at both Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley. Her works include The Wife of Martin Guerre (1941), The Trial of Soeren Qvist (1947), The Ghost of Monsieur Scarron (1959), Good-Bye, Son and Other Stories (1946), and Poems Old and New (1982). R. L. Barth is the author of A Soldier's Time, Abandon Hope, and, most recently, First Morning, Last Night. As Robert L. Barth he is a publisher of chapbooks.