This book offers a comprehensive description of how writers, in particular poets in nineteenth-century France, became increasingly aware of the visual element in writing from the point of view both of content and of the formal organisation of the words in the text. This interest encouraged writers such as Baudelaire, Mallarme and Rimbaud to recreate in language some of the vivid, sensual impact of the graphic or painterly image. This was to be achieved by organising texts according to aesthetic criteria so that as far as possible the form of the text as visually perceived would be closely interrelated to its content as reconstructed through the reading process. The result of this development was a radical redefinition of the scope and function of poetry, raising important general questions about the nature of the relationship between language and the visual image that are still very much of concern today.
The Kootenay School of Writing is an internationally renowned poetry group that came of age in the 1980s. It is best known for its contributions to language poetry, the tradition founded in the early 1970s by Charles Bernstein and others, a direct descendant of the "New American" poetry movement. Using the psychoanalytic criticism of Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Zizek, novelist and poet Burnham unpacks and demystifies the purposely dense and disjunctive work of KSW poets, arguing that it matters because of its materiality, because of its politics, and because of how the writing, rather than offering a ready-made message, passes the work onto the reader, allowing the reader to create meaning. Burnham identifies three tendencies: the "empty speech" of poets like Kathryn MacLeod, the "social collage" of Jeff Derksen's work, and the Red Tory "neopastoralism" of Lisa Robertson. He also takes a tour through the KSW archive, unearthing its place in a social history of Vancouver--its art, its politics, its tumultuous geography.The Only Poetry That Matters is essential reading for anyone who is interested in contemporary writing, in political art, and in what it means to make meaning. Clint Burnham is an English professor at Simon Fraser University. His books include the novel Smoke Show (Arsenal Pulp Press) and The Jamesonian Unconscious (Duke University Press).
The place of poetry in modern democracy is no place, according to conventional wisdom. The poet, we hear, is a casualty of mass entertainment and prosaic public culture, banished to the artistic sidelines to compose variations on insipid themes for a dwindling audience. Robert Pinsky, however, argues that this gloomy diagnosis is as wrongheaded as it is familiar. Pinsky, whose remarkable career as a poet itself undermines the view, writes that to portray poetry and democracy as enemies is to radically misconstrue both. The voice of poetry, he shows, resonates with profound themes at the very heart of democratic culture.
There is no one in America better to write on this topic. One of the country's most accomplished poets, Robert Pinsky served an unprecedented two terms as America's Poet Laureate (1997-2000) and led the immensely popular multimedia Favorite Poem Project, which invited Americans to submit and read aloud their favorite poems. Pinsky draws on his experiences and on characteristically sharp and elegant observations of individual poems to argue that expecting poetry to compete with show business is to mistake its greatest democratic strength--its intimate, human scale--as a weakness.
As an expression of individual voice, a poem implicitly allies itself with ideas about individual dignity that are democracy's bedrock, far more than is mass participation. Yet poems also summon up communal life.. Even the most inward-looking work imagines a reader. And in their rhythms and cadences poems carry in their very bones the illusion and dynamic of call and response. Poetry, Pinsky writes, cannot help but mediate between the inner consciousness of the individual reader and the outer world of other people. As part of the entertainment industry, he concludes, poetry will always be small and overlooked. As an art--and one that is inescapably democratic--it is massive and fundamental.
An annotated collection of Donne's most significant work, including five elegies, four satires, six verse letters, four divine poems and the text of all poems from the first 17th-century edition of his verse, originally published in 1633.
"The history of poetry and of Poetry in America are almost interchangeable, certainly inseparable," wrote A. R. Ammons. Founded by Harriet Monroe in 1912, Poetry magazine established its reputation immediately by printing T. S. Eliot's "Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," Carl Sandburg's "Chicago Poems," Wallace Stevens's "Sunday Morning," and the first important poems of Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, and many other then unknown, now classic authors. Publishing monthly without interruption, Poetry has become America's most distinguished magazine of verse, presenting, often for the very first time, virtually every notable poet of the last nine decades--an unprecedented record. Decade by decade, this bountiful ninetieth-anniversary anthology from Poetry includes the poems of the major talents--along with several lesser known--in all their variety: William Butler Yeats, Edgar Lee Masters, Sara Teasdale, D. H. Lawrence, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Vachel Lindsay, Robert Graves, May Sarton, Langston Hughes, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, Hart Crane, Robert Penn Warren, Dylan Thomas, e. e. cummings, Gwendolyn Brooks, James Merrill, John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Randall Jarrell, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Robinson Jeffers, Theodore Roethke, Karl Shapiro, Anne Sexton, Thom Gunn, John Berryman, Sylvia Plath, Maxine Kumin, Ted Hughes, Adrienne Rich, and Galway Kinnell. In recent decades, Poetry has presented Seamus Heaney, Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Kay Ryan, Eavan Boland, Stephen Dunn, Mary Oliver, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jane Kenyon, James Tate, Sharon Olds, Louise Gl ck, Marilyn Hacker, and many, many others. T. S. Eliot called Poetry "an American institution." The Poetry Anthology is sure to be an American keepsake.