In 1960, George Oppen and his wife Mary settled in New York City after a period of nine years of political exile in Mexico. Oppen was the author of a slim volume of poems entitled Discrete Series, published back in 1934 with a then highly desirable preface by Ezra Pound. Few of Oppen's contemporaries, however, would remember him now as a poet, and back in New York he was having to reckon with what he would term in a later interview “my rejection of poetry for twenty or twenty-five years.”. For only at the end of the fifties, at the very end of the period spent in Mexico, had Oppen begun to write again. Success would come to him later in the decade, with the award of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, but, for the time being, as Oppen observed of the rather similar case of Basil Bunting, he felt as if he had returned to poetry “as from the dead.”
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