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Excerpt: 'Collected Poems,' Richard Wilbur


"A real treat for poetry lovers in summer -- or any season," says book critic Alan Cheuse of this new trade paperback, recommended in his summer reading roundup for All Things Considered.

Wilbur was born in New York City in 1921 and now lives in Massachusetts. "I once asked Wallace Stevens whether he liked such-and-such a poem of his, and he heartily replied, 'I like all my poems,'" Wilbur writes in the foreword to this collection.

"Every poet has moments of feeling that way, moved by gratitude for all the times when he got something decently said, or hoped to have done so, and could in conscience add another poem to his manuscript. That, I think, is the mood in which a collected poems -- as opposed to a sternly winnowed selected -- should be assembled."

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Richard Wilbur