Jeff Sears’s The Worth of the Harvest: James Hearst and His Poetry is the first book-length literary biography about the celebrated Cedar Falls, Iowa, farmer-poet James Hearst (1900-83). During his lifetime, James Hearst published more than a dozen collections and over 600 individual poems, many of which drew inspiration from his work on his family’s farm in rural Cedar Falls. In The Worth of the Harvest, Jeff Sears explores Hearst’s life and literary work, interweaving biographical information with insights gleaned from a careful reading of Hearst’s verse. Whether you are well acquainted with the poetry of James Hearst (the “Robert Frost of the Midwest”) or new to his work, The Worth of the Harvest provides the context for appreciating Hearst’s evocative rural landscapes and understanding of the human condition.
Jeff Sears says of Hearst’s work, “What most impresses me about Hearst’s poetry is the variety of styles he mastered and made his own. His early work is traditional, and his later work is modern. But it’s always his voice.”
Tom Alesia, author of Beauty at Short, says that “Jeff Sears unveils Midwest poet James Hearst's extraordinary life and writing. Hearst left decades of treasures for us, and Sears gives it the rebirth that it richly deserves. The Worth of the Harvest is a marvel, as a compelling biography and as a siren to secure Hearst's spot among American poetry masters.”
Scott Cawelti, editor of The Complete Poetry of James Hearst calls The Worth of the Harvest, “insightful and deeply engaging for anyone acquainted with Hearst’s life and work. I learned much, especially about Hearst’s friendships with Robert Frost, Ferner Nuhn and Ruth Suckow.”
Click here to read an interview with Jeff Sears about The Worth of the Harvest.