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Work of Poetry

by John Hollander

  • ISBN: 9780231108966
  • ISBN10: 0231108966

Work of Poetry

by John Hollander

  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1997
  • ISBN: 9780231108966
  • ISBN10: 0231108966
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Description: 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, whether it takes the shape of "flabby and inane free verse" or "uptight and inane pentameters". Fiercely independent, he takes aim at literature and writing programs that offer only "little blobs of condensed contextualization", scarcely touching poetry's rich legacy.

Readers who have struggled with the verse of poets like John Ashbery will be grateful for Hollander's masterful readings. They will also discover the enchantment a visionary poet like Hollander can extract from a seemingly dry topic, like the preposition "of", and the clarity he imparts to contested and ambiguous topics such as originality. Twenty-three essays cover poetic substance and experience, mode and meter, and the lonely labor of committing words to the page.

The essays in The Work of Poetry are organized into three parts, the first of which, "Poetic Substances", explores the nature of poetry and the poet. The essays in "Poetic Experiences" examine the relationship between the poems and the individual, whether a poet, a lover of poetry, or both. The final essays, "The Work of Poets", deal with poets themselves, and it is here that Hollander gives his insightful readings of the works of Whitman, Robert Penn Warren, and others.

Any serious admirer of poetry will be moved by The Work of Poetry, and anystudent of verse who seeks to comprehend its subtleties will find in this volume a rich source of wisdom.

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