Tony Towle

The History of the Invitation:
   New and Selected Poems
   1963 - 2000

Hanging Loose Press
252 pages
Cover by James Rosenquist.

Towle’s poems often drape a variably elegant and brooding diction over the gears of a razor sharp, at times surprisingly romantic, intellect.


Publishers Weekly, July 2001


Towle’s poems pretend to see the traditionally framed poetic endeavour as quixotic, but under cover of this seeming ironizing framework the poems cast out towards ambitiously Romantic and metaphysical promontories far from the bedrock of the quotidian and believable.


— Ken Bolton, Jacket 16, March 2002 (On-line magazine)


Towle seldom fails to obey the lyric imperatives, to corral his materials into the confines of a traditional lyric poem. For all their shuffling and sifting, their randomness and hilarity, the poems tend to resolve themselves with Horatian decorum and elegance.


— George Green, Poetry Project Newsletter, April/May 2002


The poetry is constantly delightful, makes you smile with sheer enjoyment and he can be sharp and funny and digressive by turns in ways that reminded me not just of Koch and O’Hara and other New York poets, but also Byron, and even Pope at his most waspish.


— Steven Waling, The North (U.K.), 2002


Tony Towle is one of the New York School’s best-kept secrets. For those who haven’t yet discovered his rich and strange poetry, and for those who have been invigorated by it over the past thirty years, this generous collection will be a feast.

— John Ashbery


The History of the Invitation belongs in every library of poetry, possibly on its very own shelf.

— Billy Collins


The deep, surprising lyricism of the early poems and the incisive witty discourse of the darker late ones are both part of a poetry at the same time direct and highly artistic. Tony Towle’s is one of the clear, authentic voices of American poetry.

— Kenneth Koch


Meditative, erudite, stunning with ease and quirky sanity, Tony Towle’s massive Selected is a phenomenal measure of a poet’s nearly four decades’ mind in poetry. This book is a grand achievement; a tome of such human generosity and wit is not to be missed.

— Anne Waldman

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Copyright © 2004 by Tony Towle. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2004 by Tony Towle. All rights reserved.