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The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien

Apparently I’m the first to get this news on the TS website, and it’s not all that brand-new: the news came to my eyes on March 12.

The long-needed collection by this title will be published in September, and is available for pre-order on There’s a brief article about it in The Bookseller that’s informative but has one error: it’s not one volume, it’s three.

For the 240 or more poems (depending on how you count different versions – remember that you can count Errantry and Bilbo’s Lay of Eärendil as the same poem if you’re an extreme lumper in classification), including many never previously published at all, will be edited by the prolific and meticulous team of Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond, and the set will include extensive commentary, a lengthy introduction, a chronology, and a glossary of the hard words. It should be over 1500 pages long.

Scull and Hammond have provided details in a blog post. The main additional takeaway from this is that this is a collected poems, not a complete poems. It will not include all of the poems from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, as surely anyone wanting this collection will already have those. As for the very long poems, such as The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún and The Lays of Beleriand, those will be given in excerpts. Again, they’ve already been published elsewhere.

To this post I can add two additional pieces of information. First, to confirm, as the post suggests, that Tolkien’s never-published (except for a few quotations) verse translation of Beowulf will be among those long poems given in excerpts. It was never completed anyway, and the extracts should be extensive.

Second, I have been told that the set will be for sale from U.S. booksellers and not just in that country by order from the U.K., but there will not be a separate U.S. edition.
ETA: I’ve been further told that copies for sale from U.S. booksellers will bear the U.S. imprint of William Morrow, though they will be printed in the U.K. along with the HarperCollins print run. Publication date will be one week later.

About the Author: David Bratman
David Bratman is co-editor of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review, and former editor of Mythprint, the bulletin of The Mythopoeic Society. He likes to write about Tolkienian biography and bibliography.