A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921

Cover art for A WORLD OF SONGS: SELECTED POEMS, 1894–1921, by L.M. Montgomery, edited by Benjamin LefebvreBy L.M. Montgomery
Edited by Benjamin Lefebvre
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2019. xx + 140 pp.
Rights Sold: World
Series: The L.M. Montgomery Library

Publishing History

Trade paperback, forthcoming in January 2019
Unjacketed hardcover, forthcoming in January 2019

Synopsis

Celebrated as a novelist and made famous by her novel Anne of Green Gables and its sequels, L.M. Montgomery (1874–1942) is far less known for also writing and publishing hundreds of poems over a period of half a century. Although this output included a chapbook and a full-length collection in which she presented herself primarily as a nature poet, most of her poems appeared in periodicals, including women’s magazines, farm papers, faith-based periodicals, daily and weekly newspapers, and magazines for children. As a shrewd businesswoman, she learned to find the balance between literary quality and commercial saleability and continued to publish poetry even though it paid less than short fiction.

A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921, the second volume in The L.M. Montgomery Library, gathers a selection of fifty poems originally published across a twenty-five-year period. Benjamin Lefebvre organizes this work within the context of Montgomery’s life and career, claiming her not only as a nature poet but also as the author of a wider range of “songs”: of place, of memory, of lamentation, of war, of land and sea, of death, and of love. Many of these poems echo motifs that readers of Montgomery’s novels will recognize, and many more explore surprising perspectives through the use of male speakers. These poems offer today’s readers a new facet of the career of Canada’s most enduringly popular author.

Benjamin Lefebvre, editor of The L.M. Montgomery Library, is director of L.M. Montgomery Online. His publications include an edition of Montgomery’s rediscovered final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, and the three-volume critical anthology The L.M. Montgomery Reader, which won the 2016 PROSE Award for Literature from the Association of American Publishers. He lives in Kitchener, Ontario.

Contents

Acknowledgments (ix)

A Note on the Author (xi–xii)

Abbreviations (xiii–xiv)

Preface (xv–xix)

Overture

The Gable Window (5–6)

Prelude

The Poet’s Thought (9)

Songs of Place

In Lovers’ Lane (13–14)

The Fir Lane (15–16)

In an Old Garden (17–18)

The Old Home Calls (19)

The Exile (20)

The Summons (21)

Songs of Memory

Three Days (25)

Companioned (26)

Do You Remember? (27)

Memory Pictures (28)

Interlude

The Singer (31)

Songs of Lamentation

Irrevocable (35)

I Would Be Well (36–37)

Night Watches (38–39)

If I Had Known (40)

The Book (41)

Longing (42)

The Mother (43–44)

Songs of War

The Last Prayer (47–48)

The Three Songs (49–50)

We Who Wait (51)

Our Women (52)

Interlude

One of the Shepherds (55–57)

Songs of Land and Sea

When the Fishing Boats Go Out (61)

When the Fishing Boats Come In (62–63)

Rain in the Woods (64)

My Pictures (65)

The Wind in the Poplars (66–67)

The Sea-Shell (68)

Before Storm (69)

A Shore Picture (70)

The Sea to the Shore (71)

Songs of Death

Too Late (75–76)

I Have Buried My Dead (77–78)

Omega (79–80)

An Old Man’s Grave (81)

The Treasures (82)

Songs of Love

If Love Should Come (85)

Assurance (86)

The Gray Silk Gown (87–88)

On the Bridge (89)

Gratitude (90)

With Tears They Buried You To-day (91–92)

Forever (93)

To One Hated (94)

The Lover’s Catechism (95)

Postlude

The Poet (99)

Coda

What I Would Ask of Life (103)

Afterword (105–20)

Notes (121–28)

Bibliography (129–34)

Index by Title (135–36)

Index by Date (137–38)

Index by First Line (139–40)

Praise

“The two greatest strengths of A World of Songs are its author and its editor, the first a major Canadian writer whose books have sold millions of copies – a fact that has not disqualified her from being the subject of serious academic scholarship – the other a world-renowned Montgomery scholar with, to judge by his publications, an encyclopedic knowledge of her work.”
—Andre Narbonne, Department of English, University of Windsor

“L.M. Montgomery’s verse has considerably more merit than that of many popular versifiers and yet has been unduly neglected, even by Montgomery scholars. A World of Songs expands the current limited horizon of Montgomery’s verse and possesses biographical/historical interest, including insights into publishing verse in the late Romantic period.”
—Kevin McCabe, co-editor of The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery

“L.M. Montgomery is a major writer of personal and general significance to many readers, and her work is of wide interest. The poems selected for this volume complement her better-known novels and short stories. Reading them will reward readers with insights and unanticipated pleasures.”
—Jane Ledwell, PEI poet, co-editor of L.M. Montgomery and War

Links

A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921 at L.M. Montgomery Online

A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921 at University of Toronto Press

The L.M. Montgomery Library at L.M. Montgomery Online

The L.M. Montgomery Library at University of Toronto Press

Contact

Chris Reed, Publicist
Telephone: (416) 978-2239, ext. 248
Fax: (416) 978-4738
E-mail: creed@utorontopress.com

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