This selection of Anthony Hecht's poems, edited by J.D. McClatchy, is the first to span the poet's entire career. This weighty volume showcases Hecht's formal rigor in poems that pay tribute to Herbert, Milton, Shakespeare, and Auden, from his first collection, A Summoning of Stones, which Ted Hughes noted as "remarkable for its classical poise and elegance," to his final collection of poems, The Darkness and the Light, which was, as McClatchy notes, "quieter, reconciled, more accepting" and celebrated "the redemptive power of beauty" with a "renewed urgency."
McClatchy writes, in the collection's introduction, that Hecht's legacy is "a responsible art, an art that responds to history, to political and domestic tragedies, with an awareness of personal accountability."
This book review originally appeared in American Poet, fall 2011, issue 41.