Poems of Laura Riding 1938

Laura Riding Jackson Book

A newly revised edition of the 1938-1980 collection with a centennial preface by Mark Jacobs
A Karen and Michael Braziller Book
ISBN: 0-89255-258-1

The poems may be viewed via the following links:

Poems of Mythical Occasion

Poems of Immediate Occasion

Poems of Final Occasion

Poems Continual

"Of all the contemporary poems I know, these seem to me the furtherest advanced, the most personal and the purest. I hope, but hardly believe, that they will be assimilated soon into the general consciousness of literature.
"The authority, the dignity of truth telling, lost by poetry to science, may gradually be regained. If it is, these poems should one day be a kind of Principia. They argue that the art of language is the most fitting instrument with which to press upon full reality and make it known."
Robert Fitzgerald, review of The Collected
of Laura Riding, by Laura (Riding)Jackson,
Kenyon Review (Summer 1939): 342.

A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding

Edited with an introduction by Robert Nye.

Laura Riding Jackson Book

Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1994.
pb. ISBN 1-85754-065-4

New York: Persea Books, 1996.
pb. ISBN 0-89255-221-2

This is a personal selection of the poems of Laura (Riding) Jackson by the author and poet Robert Nye, who first came across Laura Riding in a second-hand bookshop when he was fifteen.  In 1991 (The Guardian) he said of her:

'As Laura Riding she wrote some of the most truthful and beautiful poems ever to grace the English language in her 1938 Collected Poems...'

From the Introduction to A Selection of the Poems of Laura Riding by Robert Nye

When the true history of twentieth-century poetry in the English language comes to be written, I believe that the poems of Laura Riding - and the story that goes with them - will be seen to be as important as anything in it.

The first thing to grasp about this poet is the threefold nature of her name.  Born Laura Reichenthal in New York in 1901, she gave herself the name of Laura Riding when she began writing the poems of her major accomplishment, becoming Laura (Riding) Jackson when she stopped.  In her early years in America she was for a brief while associated with the Fugitives, that group of poet which included John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate; they gave her a prize for her work in 1924.  At the end of 1925 she came to England, where her first book of poems, The Close Chaplet, was published by the Hogarth Press a year later, and she began a personal and literary association with Robert Graves which lasted until 1939.  At that point, or soon after, having returned to America, she renounced the writing of poetry. In 1941 she married Schuyler Jackson, another ex-poet and a scholar of the neglected English writer Charles Doughty; together they worked for many years on a monumental book on language entitled Ration Meaning: A New Foundation for the Definition of Words. She published her 'personal evangel', The Telling, over her later life name of Laura (Riding) Jackson in 1972. She died in Florida , on 2 September 1991, at the age of 90, having been awarded the Bollingen Prize earlier that year for her lifelong services to poetry.

If you'd like to contribute to, or find out more about, Laura (Riding) Jackson and her work don't hesitate to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.