By the time the Pulitzer Prize-winning Heart's Needle appeared in 1959, W.D. Snodgrass had been accepted as a peer by some of the most important postwar American poets, including Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell, Theodore Roethke, and John Berryman. The intensely personal and emotional nature of the poetry shocked critics. In writing about the intimacies and betrayals of family life, Snodgrass joined Lowell in creating what became commonly known as "confessional poetry." The personal lyric, reintroduced in Heart's Needle, arguably became the dominant poetry of the 1960s and 1970s. Snodgrass was a decade ahead of his time.
The Poetry of W.D. Snodgrass: Everything Human gathers a rich selection of book reviews and critical essays and provides the first attempt to appraise the entire scope of this poet's work. Contributors include John Hollander, Hayden Carruth, Denis Donoghue, J.D. McClatchy, Harold Bloom, Hugh Kenner, and Dana Gioia. Stephen Haven's chronology of the poet's life and work supplements the reviews and essays in tracing Snodgrass's evolution as an artist and shedding new light on his work.