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Lives of the Poets

by Michael Schmidt

  • ISBN: 9780375706042
  • ISBN10: 0375706046

Lives of the Poets

by Michael Schmidt

  • List Price: $21.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Publish date: 11/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780375706042
  • ISBN10: 0375706046
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Description: A dazzling account of the entire history of poetry in the English language -- from the 14th century to the present -- by one of the most intelligent and passionate critics in the field.

Setting out to write his own homage to Samuel Johnson's legendary Lives of the English Poets, Michael Schmidt introduces us to the world tradition of poets who wrote in English. From the rustic rhythms of Piers Plowman to today's postmodernists, from 15th-century Scotland to the contemporary Caribbean, Schmidt explores the lives and creations of more than 300 poets, discussing their best (and sometimes worst) poems, their triumphs and tragedies, their individual genius. Schmidt not only brings to life the classic poets of the Western canon, but also the extraordinary poetry now emerging from Australia, New Zealand, India, and other countries, and shows how these varied cultures make their contributions to our common language.

Tracing the themes and achievements of each poet's work, Schmidt demonstrates with wit and erudition how poets overshadow and inspire one another across the centuries. En route, he champions some unjustly neglected voices and outlines the ways in which history and politics intervene to shape the poetic imagination.

With infectious enthusiasm and avoiding all fashionable jargon, Schmidt speaks unapologetically for a common language -- the language of poetry, which unites people across continents and across the ages. For anyone who has every been moved by a poem, a rich and important book.

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