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Merrill, Cavafy, Poems and Dreams is a collection that—as the title indicates—looks both outward and inward. It begins with essays on Greek poets from Homer to Ritsos, in which Rachel Hadas's knowledge of classical literature and her years in Greece richly inform the writing. The collection also includes a loving exploration of the work of poet James Merrill, who was a close personal friend of the author's.
The second half of the book combines explorations of various corners and horizons of the poetry scene, including neglected American poets and Hadas's thoughts on her own poetics and career. "Two Letters from New York" and "Tangled Web Sites" take bemused looks at literary or cultural landscapes. Hadas also looks inward: to dreams and dreamwork, to her dead mother's address book, to the emblematic drilling of a well in a country house. The range of selections includes essays, interviews, memoir, criticism, and a few of Hadas's own poems.
Rachel Hadas is the author of eleven books of poetry, essays, and translations. Her most recent book is Halfway Down the Hall: New and Selected Poems. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry and an American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is Professor of English at the Newark campus of Rutgers University.