George Oppen (1908–1984) was best known as one of the members of the Objectivist group of poets. He abandoned poetry in the 1930s for political activism, and later moved to Mexico to avoid the attentions of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He returned to poetry—and to the United States—in 1958, and received a Pulitzer Prize for his work in 1969.
21 Poems nearly doubles the size of George Oppen’s early and influential corpus, and happily, the poems themselves are fascinating. When I first shared my find with one of my professors, he grabbed my shoulders and said, “Don’t get used to this feeling, David, it may never happen again.”