In 1940, when John Wheelwright was killed by a speeding car, Boston lost one of its most colorful personalities and American poetry one of its most original and provocative talents. Like so many artists who have pioneered fresh techniques, Wheelwright received little popular recognition in his short lifetime, although his work caught the eyes of perspicacious critics, who marked him as a man to watch.
Originally published in a clothbound edition in 1972, Wheelwright's Collected Poems are now presented in paperbook format. Included are the three books brought out while he lived--Rock and Shell (1933), Mirrors of Venus (1938), and Political Self-Portrait (1940)--as well as the previously unpublished collection Dawn to Dust and miscellaneous other poems. The book has a preface by the editor, Alvin H. Rosenfeld, a memorial poem by Robert Fitzgerald, and a foreword by Austin Warren that places the poet firmly in the category of "New England Saint."