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RR+: The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien - coming Sept 12, 2024

A Roving Ranger Extra (RR+)

More than 1,300 pages strong, three volumes, almost 200 poems, over 60 of which have not been published before.

Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull recently hinted at this (Opens in a new window), now the cat is out of the bag! (Opens in a new window)

What are your thoughts on this?

Let me know via email: (Opens in a new window) or drop me a comment!


Wayne and Christina have written about this!

Here is the title page to volume one!

A number of factors, namely economies of production, ruled out a Complete Poems by Tolkien. Nevertheless, the Collected Poems will include most of the verses Tolkien is known to have written, and for most of these, multiple versions which show their evolution. There are at least 240 discrete poems, depending on how one distinguishes titles and versions, presented in 195 entries and five appendices. When possible, we have used manuscripts and typescripts in the Bodleian Library, at Marquette University, and at the University of Leeds. We have chosen not to include all of the one hundred or so poems contained in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but have made a representative selection – surely, no one who reads the Collected Poems will not already have at least one copy of Tolkien’s two most popular works. His longer poems, as we have said, will be presented as excerpts. The book will also include a long introduction to Tolkien as a poet, a brief chronology of his poetry, and a glossary of archaic, unusual, or unfamiliar words he used in his verse. [Source (Opens in a new window)]

UPDATE II. March 14.

Both authors have added information in a post with the Tolkien Guide (Opens in a new window).

The Amazon description, which we didn't see before it was posted, seems to be based on our initial report to Christopher in December 2016, or on the one we wrote for Estate and publisher in May 2020, in particular its statement about "almost 200 works" and "more than 60 that have never before been seen". We had guessed, way back when, that Tolkien wrote between 250 and 300 poems altogether, without knowing how many one would, or could, include in a collection, and that "some 60" poems among the scans we received were unpublished. We knew, however, of other unpublished poems not in that group of scans, which we had seen at the Bodleian, and later we learned of still more.

We say in our blog post that the Collected Poems will include "at least 240 discrete poems". This does, as we also say, depend on one's definition. Some of the poems morph in their evolution so much that one could either count a work as a single entity in a variety of forms, or as a variety of separate poems that are closely related. Hence our vagueness about the number: we didn't want to overhype it.

UPDATE III. April 21.

Our thanks to all who have written to us with congratulations and set a new record for views of this blog. News of the Collected Poems has caused not a little excitement. It has also led to not a few questions, chief among which has been: What will the book include? Will it have the complete Lay of the Fall of Gondolin? Will it have Tolkien’s verse translation of Beowulf? Will it have his rumoured bestiary poems about the Fox and the Unicorn? And especially (if very curiously), will it have The Complaint of Mîm the Dwarf, which so far has been published only in German translation? (…) [Source (Opens in a new window)]

Topic Tolkien's Works

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