Selected Poems

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In this welcome centenary edition of C. Day Lewis' poems, Jill Balcon has substantially extended her husband's own Penguin selections of 1951 and 1969, including not only his last collection The Whispering Roots (1970), but also vers d'occasion written when he was Poet Laureate and a number of the Posthumous Poems. This broad retrospective allows the reader a proper view of the technical variety and range of Day Lewis' work, from the pastoral lyrics of his youth, inspired by Hardy and Yeats, through the political verse of the 1930s, to the reflective and more personal poems of his later years. Day Lewis was fond of quoting Robert Frost's dictum that 'a poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom'. This could equally well describe his own development as a writer: idealistic, sincere and psychologically acute, he bears witness in his poetry to a lifelong commitment to serving literature and its makers.