From the Archive: New Poems by George Oppen

January 9, 2017

By Nancy Kuhl

New Poems by George Oppen

David B. Hobbs, “A Brief Introduction to 21 Poems by George Oppen,” in Journal of Modern Literature, Volume 40, Number 1, Fall 2016, pp. 1-22.

Scholar David B. Hobbs has recently identified an unpublished typescript collection of poems by George Oppen: “21 Poems” by George Oppen (1930). The typescript was sent by Louis Zukofsky to Ezra Pound in 1930 can now be found in the Ezra Pound Papers Addition in the Beinecke Library (Call Number: YCAL Series 53, Series III, Box 40, Folder 930).

Introducing the poems in the current issue of Journal of Modern Literature, Hobbs writes: “George Oppen’s debut collection, Discrete Series (1934), is a group of short, fragmented poems written during his early association with the ‘Objectivists’ poets. It was followed by twenty-four years of poetic silence, and is typically understood as a preparation for the books that comprise his mature career, during which he published six collections between 1962 and 1978. In part, this is because the poems of Discrete Series offer so few inroads — they dispense with stable references to political history and lack much in the way of supporting correspondence and other prose. So it is with great excitement that the Journal of Modern Literature is able to announce the recovery of an early typescript, 21 Poems by George Oppen (1930), and to reproduce it here in full.”

Hobbs is presently preparing Oppen’s typescript for publication in the New Directions Poetry Pamphlets series.

David B. Hobbs ( is a PhD Candidate in the English Department at New York University, currently completing a dissertation entitled “Verticalities: Thinking ‘City’ in Lyric Modernism.”

“21 Poems” mailing envelope in Ezra Pound Papers Addition