From Twenty Books of Verse published between 1940 and 1993, John Ciardi gives us poems of love written with care and honest discernment; poems of the natural world that reveal humanity's kinship to spiders and nebulae, oceans and thickets; and poems that tellingly render the ritual dance of human life and mortality. Ciardi declared in the Saturday Review that (e)very good poet writes one poem more than his index shows and that is the total poem of all the others put together. For Ciardi, that total poem is The Collected Poems of John Ciardi, a work that reveals the poet's assurance of line and meter, his skill for distinctive and intense observation, his wit and unfailing candor, and his understanding of humanity, its weaknesses, and its need for mercy. In his biography of Ciardi, Edward Cifelli says this poet is one best remembered and understood as writing in a special class of American poets, including contemporaries like Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur, and Randall Jarrell. This collection finally demonstrates the scope and wealth of his contribution to that era. Further, it shows how, while always experimenting in form and meter and perfectly matching his structures to his subject matter, Ciardi resolutely held to an aesthetic that kept his poetry' free of the wavering fashions that dominated American poetry in the latter half of the twentieth century In The Collected Poems of John Ciardi, editor Edward Cifelli has gathered for us a total poem that is a powerful revelation of the career of a great American poet.