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Poetics

AMERICAN POETRY & CULTURE, 1945-1980

AMERICAN POETRY & CULTURE, 1945-1980

Author: HALLBERG, ROBERT VON
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Challenging the common perception of poets as standing apart from the mainstream of American culture, Robert von Hallberg gives us a fresh and unpredictable assessment of the poetry that has come directly out of the American experience since 1945.

Who reads contemporary American poetry? More people than were reading new poetry in the 1920s, von Hallberg shows. How do poets respond to the public preoccupations of their readers? Often with fascination. Von Hallberg put the poems of Robert Creeley and John Ashbery together with the postwar outburst of systems analysis. The 1950s tourist poems of John Hollander, Adrienne Rich, W. S. Merwin, and James Merrill are treated as the cultural side of America's postwar rise to global political power There are chapters on the political poems of the 1950s and 1960s, and on Robert Lowell's sympathy for the imperialism of his liberal contemporaries. Poems of the 1970s on pop culture, especially Edward Dorn's Slinger, and some from the suburbs of the 1980s, are shown to reflect a curious peace between the literary and the mass cultures.

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AN ESSAY ON FRENCH VERSE

Author: BARZUN, JACQUES
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Barzun, Essay on French Verse. From the author of From Dawn to Decadence.

CAWS AND CAUSERIES

Author: HOLLO, ANSELM
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This collection of prose writings by an internationally known poet includes an autobiographical essay describing Hollo's remarkable odyssey from the time he left his native Finland for the United States as a high school student until he settled in Colorado in the late 1980s. Other pieces in the collection, ranging from brief pieces ("caws") to more extended "causeries" (informal essays), include "Some Aereated Prose for a Panel on 'experimental writing, '" "Gregorio the Herald" (a tribute to Gregory Corso), discussions of other poets, among them Tom Raworth and Francis Ponge, "What Was It Like: A Remembrance of Allen Ginsberg's Howl," and a sampling of a lifetime's observations on poetry and poets. What emerges is a lively, unabashedly opinionated, always personal poetics forged in association and friendship with numerous "New American" poets: the Beats, the Black Mountain poets, the New York School, the Language poets, and the perennially unclassifiable and enigmatic.

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CLASSIC WRITINGS ON POETRY

Author: HARMON W
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The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. He is a sovereign, and stands on the centre.--Ralph Waldo Emerson, from "The Poet"

"[The poet] is a seer.... he is individual... he is complete in himself.... the others are as good as he, only he sees it and they do not. He is not one of the chorus. "--Walt Whitman, from the preface to Leaves of Grass

Poetry has always given rise to interpretation, judgment, and controversy. Indeed, the history of poetry criticism is as rich and varied a journey as the history of poetry itself. But classic writings such as Emerson's essay "The Poet" and Whitman's preface to Leaves of Grass serve as more than a critical "call and response" the works are striking examples of how the finest poets themselves have written on poetics and the works of their peers and predecessors--revealing, in the process, much about the theory and passion behind their own works.

Spanning thousands of years and including thirty-three of the most influential critical essays ever written, Classic Writings on Poetry is the first major anthology of criticism devoted exclusively to poetry. Beginning with a survey of the history of poetics and providing an introduction and brief biography for each reading, esteemed poet and critic William Harmon takes readers from Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Poetics to the Norse mythology of Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál. John Dryden's An Essay of Dramatic Poesy and Shelley's A Defence of Poetry are included, as is an excerpt from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's verse novel Aurora Leigh, arriving, finally, at the modernist sensibility of "Poetic Reality and Critical Unreality," by Laura (Riding) Jackson. For anyone interested in the art and artifice of poetry, Classic Writings on Poetry is a journey well worth taking.

DWELLING IN POSSIBILITY: Women Poets and Critics on Poetry

DWELLING IN POSSIBILITY: Women Poets and Critics on Poetry

Author: PRINS, YOPIE
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"Dwelling in Possibility" cuts across conventional boundaries between critical and creative writing by featuring the work of both women poets and feminist critics as they explore and exemplify the relationship between gender and poetic genres. The contributors suggest new ways of thinking and writing about poetry in light of contemporary question about history and identity. Most of the contributions are published here for the first time. This imaginatively conceived book covers a range in terms of time, geography, and genre, considering poets from antiquity to the present and drawing on a variety of critical approaches. Of particular note are essays on the transformation of classical lyric through the figure of Sappho, and on the transformative use of biblical material in women's verse.
ELOQUENCE & MERE LIFE: Essays on the Art of Poetry

ELOQUENCE & MERE LIFE: Essays on the Art of Poetry

Author: WILLIAMSSON, ALAN
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Assesses past and future generations of poets and examines the standards by which they should be measured
HEAVY WORDS LIGHTLY THROWN

HEAVY WORDS LIGHTLY THROWN

Author: ROBERTS
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Was Little Jack Horner a squatter? ?Baa Baa Black Sheep? a bleat about taxation? What did Jack and Jill do on that hill? Who was Mary? And why was she contrary?

This witty and ingenious book delves into the hidden meanings of forty of the most innocuous- sounding nursery rhymes, uncovering a seething subtext of sexual innuendo, religious hatred, and political subversion. "Heavy Words Lightly Thrown" provides a fascinating history lesson, teases out some alarming Freudian interpretations, and makes astonishing connections to contemporary popular culture. Striking and spooky silhouettes of nursery rhyme characters accompany the rhymes.

You?ll never see Mother Goose in the same way again. BACKCOVER: Praise for "Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: "
?What makes HWLT so much fun to read is not just the wacky stories Roberts tells, but the way Roberts tells them. He has a quick, chummy wit and moves easily between the past and the present, making connections between the way people acted then and the way we act now, and sending up both.?
?"Orlando Sentinel"
?Roberts employs a decidedly playful approach in analyzing the rhymes.?
?"Chicago Tribune"
?Roberts deploys an informal style of scholarship to a dazzling effect, transforming a catalogue of familiar nursery rhymes into a treasure trove of tantalizingly slippery archaisms, hidden etymological layers, arcane associations and buried meanings. This is better than history lite--it's history made delightful.?
?"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)
?HWLT is obviously a labor of love, performed by a man obsessed with language, history, but intent on making the education of his readers a joyous experience.?
?"Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel"
?a loving, in-depth look at history, the human condition, and why words and the way they are used matters so much.?
?"Sunday Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News"
?a lighthearted, often hilarious look at the human condition and a fascinating exploration of how words can shape mythology and culture.?
?"Syracuse Post-Standard"
) ?A fascinating slice of history with quirky, unexpected and often scandalous tales.?
?"Providence Sunday Journal"
?An intriguing & informative historical trip through those odd little songs I sang as an odd little child. A must-have for anyone who has ever been younger than they are now.?
?Angus Oblong, creator of ?The Oblongs? animated series & author of "Creepy Susie: And 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children"
?James Finn Garner, author of "Politically Correct Bedtime Stories"

IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND, SECOND EDITION: A POET'S PORTABLE WORKSHOP

IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND, SECOND EDITION: A POET'S PORTABLE WORKSHOP

Author: KOWIT, STEVE
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*Over 90,000 copies sold*

Long an anchor text for college and junior college writing classes, this illuminating and invaluable guide has become a favorite for beginning poets and an ever-valuable reference for more advanced students who want to sharpen their craft, expand their technical skills, and engage their deepest memories and concerns.This edition adds Steve Kowit's famous essay on poetics "The Mystique of the Difficult Poem," in which he argues stirringly and forcefully that a poem need not be obscure to be great.

INVISIBLE LISTENERS: Lyric Intimacy in Herbert, Whitman, and Ashberry

INVISIBLE LISTENERS: Lyric Intimacy in Herbert, Whitman, and Ashberry

Author: VENDLER, HELEN
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When a poet addresses a living person--whether friend or enemy, lover or sister--we recognize the expression of intimacy. But what impels poets to leap across time and space to speak to invisible listeners, seeking an ideal intimacy--George Herbert with God, Walt Whitman with a reader in the future, John Ashbery with the Renaissance painter Francesco Parmigianino? In Invisible Listeners, Helen Vendler argues that such poets must invent the language that will enact, on the page, an intimacy they lack in life.

Through brilliantly insightful and gracefully written readings of these three great poets over three different centuries, Vendler maps out their relationships with their chosen listeners. For his part, Herbert revises the usual vertical address to God in favor of a horizontal one-addressing God as a friend. Whitman hovers in a sometimes erotic, sometimes quasi-religious language in conceiving the democratic camerado, who will, following Whitman's example, find his true self. And yet the camerado will be replaced, in Whitman's verse, by the ultimate invisible listener, Death. Ashbery, seeking a fellow artist who believes that art always distorts what it represents, finds he must travel to the remote past. In tones both tender and skeptical he addresses Parmigianino, whose extraordinary self-portrait in a convex mirror furnishes the poet with both a theory and a precedent for his own inventions.

By creating the forms and speech of ideal intimacy, these poets set forth the possibility of a more complete and satisfactory human interchange--an ethics of relation that is uncoerced, understanding, and free.

MODERNIST QUARTET

MODERNIST QUARTET

Author: LENTRICCHIA, FRANK
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Modernist Quartet is a study of the four major American modernist poets--Frost, Stevens, Pound, Eliot--in various historical environments (literary, philosophical, gender relations, the business of capitalist economics) with special attention given to their central poetic texts as they simultaneously reflect and shape our understanding of those environments. Frank Lentricchia presents the poems as stories of the poets seeking to sustain a life in noncommercial writing, in a culture that is only hospitable, for the most part, to commercial art.
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OCEAN, THE BIRD, AND THE SCHOLAR: ESSAYS ON POETS AND POETRY

Author: VENDLER, HELEN
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A Times Higher Education Book of the Week

One of our foremost commentators on poetry examines the work of a broad range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century English, Irish, and American poets. The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar gathers two decades' worth of Helen Vendler's essays, book reviews, and occasional prose--including the 2004 Jefferson Lecture--in a single volume.

"It's one of [Vendler's] finest books, an impressive summation of a long, distinguished career in which she revisits many of the poets she has venerated over a lifetime and written about previously. Reading it, one can feel her happiness in doing what she loves best. There is scarcely a page in the book where there isn't a fresh insight about a poet or poetry."
--Charles Simic, New York Review of Books

"Vendler has done perhaps more than any other living critic to shape--I might almost say 'create'--our understanding of poetry in English."
--Joel Brouwer, New York Times Book Review

"Poems are artifacts and [Vendler] shows us, often thrillingly, how those poems she considers the best specimens are made...A reader feels that she has thoroughly absorbed her subjects and conveys her understanding with candor, clarity, wit."
--John Greening, Times Literary Supplement

ON POETRY

ON POETRY

Author: MAXWELL, GLYN
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"This is a book for anyone," Glyn Maxwell declares of On Poetry. A guide to the writing of poetry and a defense of the art, it will be especially prized by writers and readers who wish to understand why and how poetic technique matters. When Maxwell states, "With rhyme what matters is the distance between rhymes" or "the line-break is punctuation," he compresses into simple, memorable phrases a great deal of practical wisdom.

In seven chapters whose weird, gnomic titles announce the singularity of the book--"White," "Black," "Form," "Pulse," "Chime," "Space," and "Time"--the poet explores his belief that the greatest verse arises from a harmony of mind and body, and that poetic forms originate in human necessities: breath, heartbeat, footstep, posture. "The sound of form in poetry descended from song, molded by breath, is the sound of that creature yearning to leave a mark. The meter says tick-tock. The rhyme says remember. The whiteness says alone," Maxwell writes. To illustrate his argument, he draws upon personal touchstones such as Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. An experienced teacher, Maxwell also takes us inside the world of the creative writing class, where we learn from the experiences of four aspiring poets.

"You master form you master time," Maxwell says. In this guide to the most ancient and sublime of the realms of literature, Maxwell shares his mastery with us.

POET'S GUIDE TO POETRY, SECOND EDITION

POET'S GUIDE TO POETRY, SECOND EDITION

Author: KINZIE, MARY
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In A Poet's Guide to Poetry, Mary Kinzie brings her decades of expertise as poet, critic, and director of the creative writing program at Northwestern University to bear in a comprehensive reference work for any writer wishing to better understand poetry. Detailing the formal concepts of poetry and methods of poetic analysis, she shows how the craft of writing can guide the art of reading poems. Using examples from the major traditions of lyric and meditative poetry in English from the medieval period to the present, Kinzie considers the sounds and rhythms of poetry along with the ideas and thought-units within poems. Kinzie also shares her own successful classroom tactics that encourage readers to approach a poem as if it were provisional.

The three parts of A Poet's Guide to Poetry lead the reader through a carefully planned introduction to the ways we understand poetry. The first section provides careful, step-by-step instruction to familiarize students with the formal elements of poems, from the most obvious feature through the most subtle. The second part carefully examines meter and rhythm, as well as providing a theoretical and practical overview of free verse. The final section offers helpful chapters on writing in form. Rounding out the volume are writing exercises for beginning and advanced writers, a dictionary of poetic terms, and a bibliography of further reading.

For this new edition, Kinzie has carefully reworked the introductory material and first chapter, as well as amended the annotated bibliography to include the most recent works of criticism. The updated guide also contains revised exercises and adjustments throughout the text to make the work as lucid and accessible as possible.

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POETRY HANDBOOK

Author: OLIVER, MARY
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With passion, wit, and good common sense, the celebrated poet Mary Oliver tells of the basic ways a poem is built-meter and rhyme, form and diction, sound and sense. Drawing on poems from Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and others, Oliver imparts an extraordinary amount of information in a remarkably short space. "Stunning" (Los Angeles Times). Index.
PROSES ON POEMS & POETS

PROSES ON POEMS & POETS

Author: KIZER, CAROLYN
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Chosen as the inaugural volume of the Copper Canyon Press "Writing Re: Writing" Series--each annual volume to be a major collection of prose on poetry by a leading poet--Proses collects essays and reviews by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and feminist, Carolyn Kizer. "Nearly every page sparkles with Kizer's intelligence."--Writer's NW

RESPONSES: PROSE PIECES 1953-76

Author: WILBUR, RICHARD
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SHIPS GOING INTO THE BLUE: Essays and Notes on Poetry

SHIPS GOING INTO THE BLUE: Essays and Notes on Poetry

Author: SIMPSON, LOUIS
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A revealing collection of Louis Simpson's autobiographical reflections and critical essays
SINGING SCHOOL: LEARNING TO WRITE (AND READ) POETRY BY STUDYING WITH THE MASTERS

SINGING SCHOOL: LEARNING TO WRITE (AND READ) POETRY BY STUDYING WITH THE MASTERS

Author: PINSKY, ROBERT
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Robert Pinsky's headnotes for each of the 80 poems and his brief introductions to each section take a writer's view of specific works: William Carlos Williams's "Fine Work with Pitch and Copper" for intense verbal music; Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" for wild imagination in matter-of-fact language; Robert Southwell's "The Burning Babe" for surrealist aplomb; Wallace Stevens's "The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm" for subtlety in meter. Included are poems by Aphra Behn, Allen Ginsberg, George Herbert, John Keats, Mina Loy, Thomas Nashe, and many other master poets.

This anthology respects poetry's mysteries in two senses of the word: techniques of craft and strokes of the inexplicable.

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SOUNDS OF POETRY

Author: PINSKY, ROBERT
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The Poet Laureate's clear and entertaining account of how poetry works.

"Poetry is a vocal, which is to say a bodily, art," Robert Pinsky declares in The Sounds of Poetry. "The medium of poetry is the human body: the column of air inside the chest, shaped into signifying sounds in the larynx and the mouth. In this sense, poetry is as physical or bodily an art as dancing."

As Poet Laureate, Pinsky is one of America's best spokesmen for poetry. In this fascinating book, he explains how poets use the "technology" of poetry--its sounds--to create works of art that are "performed" in us when we read them aloud.

He devotes brief, informative chapters to accent and duration, syntax and line, like and unlike sounds, blank and free verse. He cites examples from the work of fifty different poets--from Shakespeare, Donne, and Herbert to W. C. Williams, Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, C. K. Williams, Louise Glück, and Frank Bidart.

This ideal introductory volume belongs in the library of every poet and student of poetry.

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TEN WINDOWS: HOW GREAT POEMS TRANSFORM THE WORLD

Author: HIRSCHFIELD, JANE
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A dazzling collection of essays on how the best poems work, from the master poet and popular essayist

"Poetry," Jane Hirshfield has said, "is language that foments revolutions of being." In ten eloquent and highly original explorations, she unfolds some of the ways this is done--by the inclusion of hiddenness, paradox, and surprise; by a perennial awareness of the place of uncertainty in our lives; by language's own acts of discovery; by the powers of image, statement, music, and feeling to enlarge in every direction. Closely reading poems by Dickinson, Bashō, Szymborska, Cavafy, Heaney, Bishop, and Komunyakaa, among others, Hirshfield reveals how poetry's world-making takes place: word by charged word. By expanding what is imaginable and sayable, Hirshfield proposes, poems expand what is possible. Ten Windows restores us at every turn to a more precise, sensuous, and deepened experience of our shared humanity and of the seemingly limitless means by which that knowledge is both summoned and forged.

THEORY OF THE LYRIC

THEORY OF THE LYRIC

Author: CULLER, JONATHAN
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What sort of thing is a lyric poem? An intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions of the lyric--the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate the study of poetry--both of which neglect what is most striking and compelling in the lyric and falsify the long and rich tradition of the lyric in the West. Jonathan Culler explores alternative conceptions offered by this tradition, such as public discourse made authoritative by its rhythmical structures, and he constructs a more capacious model of the lyric that will help readers appreciate its range of possibilities.

"Theory of the Lyric brings Culler's own earlier, more scattered interventions together with an eclectic selection from others' work in service to what he identifies as a dominant need of the critical and pedagogical present: turning readers' attention to lyric poems as verbal events, not fictions of impersonated speech. His fine, nuanced readings of particular poems and kinds of poems are crucial to his arguments. His observations on the workings of aspects of lyric across multiple different structures are the real strength of the book. It is a work of practical criticism that opens speculative vistas for poetics but always returns to poems."
--Elizabeth Helsinger, Critical Theory

WHY POETRY MATTERS

WHY POETRY MATTERS

Author: PARINI, JAY
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A brief, passionate book about the nature of poetry and its use in the world

Poetry doesn't matter to most people, observes Jay Parini at the opening of this book. But, undeterred, he commences a deeply felt meditation on poetry, its language and meaning, and its power to open minds and transform lives. By the end of the book, Parini has recovered a truth often obscured by our clamorous culture: without poetry, we live only partially, not fully conscious of the possibilities that life affords. Poetry indeed matters.

A gifted poet and acclaimed teacher, Parini begins by looking at defenses of poetry written over the centuries. He ponders Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus, and moves on through Sidney, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Eliot, Frost, Stevens, and others. Parini examines the importance of poetic voice and the mysteries of metaphor. He argues that a poet's originality depends on a deep understanding of the traditions of political poetry, nature poetry, and religious poetry.

Writing with a casual grace, Parini avoids jargon and makes his case in concise, direct terms: the mind of the poet supplies a light to the minds of others, kindling their imaginations, helping them to live their lives. The author's love of poetry suffuses this insightful book--a volume for all readers interested in a fresh introduction to the art that lies at the center of Western civilization.

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WORK OF POETRY

Author: HOLLANDER, JOHN
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New and classic essays by one of America's most distinguished contemporary poet-critics, The Work of Poetry surveys an extraordinary range of poets, from Dante to May Swenson, and George Meredith to Marianne Moore, as well as works from the Psalms to A Child's Garden of Verses. By turns generous and uncompromising, Hollander champions the enduring force of poetry against the incursion of fashionable writing. This is an elegant, uncompromising affirmation of the extraordinary powers of poetic imagination from a poet whose poems have been hailed by J.D. McClatchy as "ways of thinking on paper."