Archive | July, 2003

A. R. Ammons’ Cookie-Cutter

A.R. Ammons, Collected Poems, 1951-1971. W.W. Norton & Co. $19.95 (paper). 396pp.
A.R. Ammons, A Coast of Trees. W.W. Norton & Co. $11.00 (paper).
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Young Poets Calling: Part 1

The Hidden Model by David Yezzi. Triquarterly, 2003.
Radiance by Joe Osterhaus. Zoo Press, 2002.

As Reviewed by Adam Kirsch

No instruction has ever been so eagerly and doubtfully obeyed as Ezra Pound’s famous “Make it new.” In twentieth and now twenty-first century American poetry, the new has been like the Ypres salient, constantly claimed and fought over to no one’s lasting profit.… continue reading...

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Dana Gioia’s Defenders of the Modernist-Romantic Tradition

As Reviewed By: Sunil Iyengar

Can Poetry Matter? by Dana Gioia. 10th anniversary edition. Graywolf Press, 2003.

I.

In an introductory note to his first poetry collection, The Rage for the Lost Penny (1940), Randall Jarrell declares: “‘Modern’ poetry is, essentially, an extension of romanticism; it is what romantic poetry wishes or finds it necessary to become.” Two years later, writing forThe Nation, Jarrell elaborates that “the change from romantic poetry was evolutionary, not revolutionary.”[private]

Modernist poetry-the poetry of Pound, Eliot, Crane, Tate, Stevens, Cummings, MacLeish, et cetera-appears to be and is generally considered to be a violent break with romanticism; it is actually, I believe, an extension of romanticism, an end product in which most of the tendencies of romanticism have been carried to their limits.

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Geoffrey Hill: The Corpus of Absolution

As Reviewed By: Ernest Hilbert

Orchards of Syon by Geoffrey Hill. Counterpoint Press, 2002.

Geoffrey Hill is so categorically admired by those who read him regularly (and they do not comprise a great horde) that it seems simply a matter of time before one will begin to hear of a “Hillian corpus” as one sometimes hears of an “Aristophanic corpus”.… continue reading...

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The Sound of the Future

As Reviewed By: Ernest Hilbert

An Introduction to the Uses of Voice Recording in New Electronic Formats

The musical qualities of the spoken voice are thought by many to be the essence of poetry, and it remains true that most poetry is intended to be heard, either as an acoustic mental image or when spoken aloud.… continue reading...

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Oedipus Redivivus

As Reviewed By: Ernest Hilbert

The Throne of Labdacus by Gjertrud Schnackenberg. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2001

I.

At the height of its rather muted publicity, the new formalism movement-proclaimed by Dana Gioia in the 1980s, and laid out in Linnaean proportions by Mark Jarman and David Mason in Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism-was met with derision by many American poets and with confusion by European poets, few of whom had strayed any great distance from the formal traditions of their forebears.… continue reading...

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Louise Glück’s Monumental Narcissism

As Reviewed By: Brian Henry

The Seven Ages by Louise Glück. Ecco/HarperCollins, $23 cloth. 68 pgs.

Very few lives are interesting, and even fewer are sufficiently interesting to spawn nine books of autobiographical poetry.… continue reading...

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A Tremulous Debut

As Reviewed By: Brian Henry

Tremolo by Spencer Short. HarperCollins Perennial, 2001. $13 (paper).

Selected by Billy Collins as a winner in the National Poetry Series competition.continue reading...

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Shakespeare’s Inner Workings

As Reviewed By: Omaar Hena

The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets by Helen Vendler. Belknap Press, 1997. $37.39 paperback. 692 pages.

Helen Vendler’s The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets first appeared in 1997 and then in paperback two years later.… continue reading...

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History Held Together with String

As Reviewed By: J. K. Halligan

The Invasion Handbook by Tom Paulin. Faber & Faber, 2002.

In the poem “Surveillances”, from his second collection, The Strange Museum (1980), Tom Paulin addressed the anonymous inhabitants of Northern Ireland who made their homes near a prison-

And if you would swop its functions
For a culture of bungalows
And light verse,
You know this is one
Of the places you belong in,
And that its public uniform
Has claimed your service.

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