From Sorrow's Well

The Poetry of Hayden Carruth
Shaun T. Griffin, editor

The social art of a solitary man


Hayden Carruth survived isolation, mental health problems, and long struggle with drink and smoke to produce a vision of modern poetry rooted in the New England tradition but entirely his own. Many feel his best poems emerged from the isolation of rural Vermont, and his poems often are concerned with rural images and metaphors reflecting the land and hardscrabble people around him. Together with his second love, jazz, Carruth’s rural experiences infuse his poems with engaging and provocative ideas even as they present sometimes stark topics.

This volume collects essays and poems from such notable contributors as Donald Hall, Marilyn Hacker, Adrienne Rich, Philip Booth, Matthew Miller, and Sascha Feinstein, among many others. The book’s sections concern the kinds of writings, and the values expressed in his writings, for which Carruth was most famous, including what editor Shaun T. Griffin calls “social utility,” jazz, his impoverished rural environment, and “innovation” in poetic form.

Praise for Hayden Carruth:

“[A]n important, original critic who should be listened to by everyone with an interest in the present and future state of American poetry.”
Washington Post Book World

“Always he shows a clear-minded calm that holds the reader’s attention. His writing is never extravagant; often its succinctness approaches the epigrammatic.”
Santa Fe Reporter

The author, editor, or translator of eight books, Shaun T. Griffin has taught a poetry workshop at Northern Nevada Correctional Center for twenty years. He received the Rosemary McMillan Lifetime Achievement in Art Award in 2006, awarded by the Sierra Arts Foundation.

Praise / Awards

  • "Now, with the publication of From Sorrow’s Well, there’s a compilation of essays and interviews equal to the task of addressing the many facets of Carruth, from formalist to poetic improviser and innovator; from rural northern farmer to urban jazzman and urbane literary critic; from neurotic isolationist to clear-eyed observer of insanity and its cure in social connection."
    Green Mountains Review
  • interesting and fresh approach to literary criticism...This collection is not just an examination of Carruth’s poetry, but an examination of how poetry has changed, how critics have responded to rapidly evolving collections, and, above all, how Carruth situated himself within these changing aesthetics and responded to them."
    --Coal Hill Review

Look Inside

Product Details

  • 5.5 x 8.5.
  • 260pp.
Available for sale worldwide

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  • Hardcover
  • 2013
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11896-0

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  • $80.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2015
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03632-5

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  • $28.95 U.S.

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  • poetry, jazz poet, poetry criticism, poetic innovation, Vermont