An Image For Longing begins just prior to the first, self-published appearance of Ommateum
, and it closes shortly after Collected Poems 1951-1971 and Sphere: The Form of a Motion were released by his longtime publisher, W.
The imagines are characterized by the following character combination: Ommateum
with setae; antenna with 12 clavola; Wing vein R2+3 absent, squama without setae; mid and hind tibiae with one tibial spur; inferior volsella approximatively triangular, curved apically.
Ammons's first book, Ommateum
(1955), is particularly sensitive to this constant vulnerability, this risk confronting the self inside a potentially overwhelming world, when that self endeavors to speak.
(Miles, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis so severe that it confined her to a wheelchair, is the spirit presiding over Ammons's early poem "A Crippled Angel.") In 1955 Ammons published Ommateum
, his first book of poems, with Dorrance, a vanity press.
In addition, Kirschten concentrates on Ammons's Ommateum
and Dickey's The Eye-Beaters, Blood, Victory, Madness, and Buckhead and Mercy in an investigation of myth and religion.
Kirschten begins his study by focusing on several poems from Ammons's Ommateum
, which should win a prize for being one of the most neglected first books by a major poet (it sold only sixteen copies in five years after its 1955 printing).
Such preoccupations pervade Ammons's canon - from his earliest volume, Ommateum
, to his latest, Garbage - but register their strongest signal in Sphere.
In his first collection of poems, Ommateum
: With Doxology (1955), Ammons wrote about nature and the self, themes that remained the central focus of his work.
His first volume, Ommateum
(1955), attracted no notice, but in the 1960s Ammons' career took a quantum leap.
Several poems evoke the kind of stark, elemental landscapes that Ammons had explored in Ommateum
, including Stephen Stepanchev's "Lizard in the Sun" and Robert Hazel's "Death in Oregon." But Ammons also chose plenty of poems that bear no resemblance to his own.
Berkeley in 1951, encouraging him to develop a "plan" (99) for the poems that would later make up his first collection, Ommateum
. She notes quite astutely in her essay that Ammons's poetry "is a search, a seeking, a running, turning, looking, finally a saying, of small truths implying large ..." (95).
Ammons followed a tip from Milton Kessler, whom he met at Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in 1961, put off Williams by invoking commitments made there, and published his first book (apart from Ommateum
, which was published by a vanity press) with Ohio State University Press in 1963.