Books by Richard Moore

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Richard Moore's Books: an annotated list

All books are available in mint condition from the author's stock. Prices are estimates of current market value.

1. A Question of Survival. University of Georgia Press, 1971. xii + 106 pp. $15.

Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Moore's first book is a large collection of poems that had been appearing widely for fifteen years in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, Harper's Magazine, The American Scholar, Saturday Review, and nine others. Jacket material by Howard Nemerov, Richard Eberhart, May Swenson, and Dan Wakefield. Foretastes of all of Moore's later styles and subjects are to be found in this collection.

2. Word from the Hills, A Sonnet Sequence in Four Movements.

University of Georgia Press, 1972, 74 pp unnumbered. $15.

This sequence of 58 regular Petrarchan sonnets is the most accomplished in that number and rhyme scheme in English. Forty were previously published in various magazines. The poems are by turn angry, anguished, and humorous. Overtly personal, they are covertly historical.

This and the previous item are elegant hardcover volumes with transparent acetate covers that fetch $30-40 apiece on the rare book market.

3. Empires. Ontario Review Press, 1981, 88 pp, cloth $15, paper $10.

Preface by X.J. Kennedy; Afterword by the Author. Jacket comments by X.J. Kennedy,

Richard Eberhart, Publisher's Weekly.

Four narrative poems in blank verse spoken by Aaron Burr, Jay Gould, Archimedes, and Cleopatra (in a characterization that differs fundamentally from both Shakespeare's and Shaw's). As X.J. Kennedy remarks, "Moore sets out to establish a colossal metaphor in setting ancient Rome and expansionist America side by side" and "resoundingly does exactly what he sets himself out to do." The four poems (which are overtly historical and covertly personal) also appeared in periodicals: two in The Georgia Review and the other two in The Southern Review and Orpheus.

4. The Education of a Mouse. Countryman press, 1983, $50.

Foreword by Howard Nemerov. White-on-black illustrations by Marion Parry.

This is the first third of Moore's "mouse epic" and was republished in #10 below. It is a fine example of the bookmaker's art but in very short supply and, of course, no longer really needed.

5. The Investigator. Story Line Press, 1991, vi + 220 pp, cloth $18.95.

This novel has been classified as a mystery and praised for its expertly maintained suspense. Primarily it is a study of characters in an unusual menage and of a man's agonized, absurd, and finally insane quest for "the facts."

6. No More Bottom. Orchises Press, 1991, iv + 76 pp, paper $10.

These mainly "light," epigrammatic poems begin with a harrowing and haunting—as well as outrageously funny—sequence about one of Moore's divorces. This experience then serves as a comic lens through which to view the rest of life. Almost all the poems appeared in 19 magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, Chronicles, The Nation, and Salmagundi.

7. Through the Keyhole. Vol. 4, No. 2 of The Epigrammatist, 1993.

Not for sale. Typescript: $1.

This tiny booklet, containing 12 epigrams, is the whole issue of a magazine, so has to be classified as a book. Issues of other magazines—Light No. 5, $3; Hellas 7, 1, $4; and Pivot (forthcoming), for example, contain more substantial selections of Moore's work but, because they contain other things too, mustn't be counted as books.




8. The Rule That Liberates. Univ. of S. Dakota Press, 1994, viii + 124,

paper $10.95. Preface by Richard Wilbur, jacket comments by Wilbur and X.J. Kennedy.

These provocative essays on Milton, Poetic Meter, Yeats, Shakespeare and Yvor Winters, "Fanatical Poets and Reasonable Poets," form in Frost and Williams, Old Ballads, Words and Healing, and Poetry and Madness, had all except one been published in "distinguished quarterlies" like the ones at Yale, Iowa, Sewanee, etc.

9. Bottom Is Back. Orchises Press, 1994, 96 pp, paper, $11.95.

Prefatory poem, addressed to the author, by X.J. Kennedy.

Almost all the poems appeared in 18 periodicals, including Poetry, Salmagundi, Light, Sparrow, The Classical Outlook, and The Formalist. One would like to say that Moore's humor is no laughing matter, but in spite of their seriousness—sometimes their horror even—these poems continually plunge the reader into hilarity. Richard Wilbur remarks on the jacket, "The best and most serious poetry is full of gaiety, and it is only dreary poets and their too-earnest readers who consider light verse demeaning… if the reader will look at such a delightful and flawless poem as Richard Moore's 'In Praise of Old Wives,' the question of light verse's legitimacy will become academic."

10. The Mouse Whole: An Epic. Negative Capability Press, 1996,

224 pp, paper, $15. Foreword by Howard Nemerov., cover comments by Mona Van

Duyn, Robert Lowell, and X.J. Kennedy.

Three volumes in one: Part One, The Education of a Mouse (#4 reprinted); Part Two, The Marriage of a Mouse; Part Three: The Apotheosis of a Mouse. Completed in 1962, when Moore was 34, and first published in its entirety 34 years later, this fantastically rhyming beast epic and self-mocking Bildungsroman was his discovery of himself as a tragicomic populist poet. Substantial excerpts appeared in Light, Negative Capability, The Ontario Review, and Plains Poetry Journal.

11. "The Captives (Captivi)," Plautus/The Comedies Vol. I, 181-250,

The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1995, cloth $ , paper $15.95.

"The Captives," with its subject of slavery and man's cruelty to man, is one of Plautus' greatest comedies (though not well known today because it has no female parts); and Moore's vigorous and highly metrical translation, together with some bold and original interpretations, do it full justice. (Since Moore's college years, Plautus has been a powerful influence on him, both directly and through Molière.)

12. "Hippolytus," Euripides, 2 1-66. Univ. of Pa. Pr. 1998, cloth $ , paper $16.95.

This great and famous but widely misunderstood tragedy receives a powerful reinterpretation inspired by Moore's lifelong fascination with ancient Greek culture and its language. His use of strict dactylic rhythms to capture the force and velocity of the original is revolutionary.

13. Pygmies and Pyramids. Orchises Press, 1998, 80 pp, paper, $12.95.

Jacket comments by Richard Wilbur, X.J. Kennedy, and Richard Eberhart.

These poems are all in the same unusual meter: strict dactylic-spondaic in the elegaic-couplet pattern from antiquity. The strictness makes this a rhythm that is different from anything heard before in English. Moore uses it to express his ironically animistic views on human development and contemporary consciousness. This unity of subject and the prevailing rhythm cause these individual verse essays, lyrics, and epigrams to coalesce into a single poem of epic-didactic scope. Moore's humor is an integral part of the process. The poems were almost all previously published in 14 journals, including Poetry, Salmagundi, Sewanee Review, and The Denver Quarterly.

14. The Naked Scarecrow. Odyssey Press (an imprint of Thomas Jefferson U. Pr.), 1999.

This is the only book of Moore's after his first in 1971 that may be described as a serious conventional poetry collection, and like the first it was honored: this one a runner-up for the 1997 T.S. Eliot Award, and chosen from among the runners-up to be published by the sponsoring press. Poems in elegant stanzas and moving blank verse give the reader ever-surprising examples of Moore's vision. Almost all the poems were previously published in Poetry, Salmagundi, Chronicles, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, The New Criterion, Hellas, etc.


Terms: Titles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8: available from the author only.

Titles 6, 9, 10, 13: available either at bookstores, from the publisher, or from the author.

Titles 11, 12, 14: available at bookstores or from the publisher only.

Books ordered from the author may be had for the prices indicated plus a shipping charge of $1.50 per order.

Discounts: 2 books: 10% 5 books: 25% 8 books: 35%

3 books: 15% 6 books: 29% 9 books: 37%

4 books: 20% 7 books: 32% 10 or more books: 40%

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Direct orders to: Richard Moore, 81 Clark Street, Belmont, MA 02478-2450