Late Fire, Late Snow
New and Uncollected Poems
University of Massachusetts Press
The poems offered here were gathered from what Robert Francis wrote in the last decade of his life and from earlier work not available either in his seven previous books or his Collected Poems, 1936-1976. While aging is a recurring theme, the later poems converse with the earlier ones in an engaging mixture of subject and tone, mingling the pastoral with the political, the contemplative with the Chaplinesque. Recipient of the Shelly Memorial Award, Prix de Rome, and Academy of American Poets Fellowship, Francis lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, until his death in 1987 at age eighty-five.
He is the most remarkable, I think, when the poet seems at most a witness; when the images, with their straightforward names, seem to appear on their own initiative; and when, from these images, some mood or thought gradually transpires.'—Richard Wilbur
'Francis captures better than almost anyone a certain mood. It can't really be named, but is some indefinable blend of lonely integrity, philosophical pessimism, and temperamental gaiety.'—David Graham
'He is so penetrating, delicate, and wise, one goes away without having said a word, merely grateful to have received so much.'—Marianne Moore
Robert Francis was born in Pennsylvania in 1901 and then moved to Massachusetts where he graduated from Harvard University in 1923. Returning to Amherst, Massachusetts, Francis published his first volume of poetry in 1936, which received the Shelly Memorial Prize. In 1975, after his long and distinguished writing career, the University of Massachusetts Press established its annual Juniper Prize in Poetry in Francis' honor.
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