Archive | November 2010: Poetry Criticism Conference

Telling the Broken Rosary: Notes on Narrative Verse

1. The Tyranny of Narrative A simple Google search for the phrase “against narrative” will lead you to any number of websites in which someone declares that narrative is tyranny of some sort. We are swept up by its momentum, we lose our minds to someone else’s version of reality. This resembles Plato’s arguments against […]

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Learning and Teaching Taste

1. MAKING SOUL Two days after my birth I arrived at my grandparents’ stone house on the plains. Around us ripe wheat spread across swaying prairie, and words rose from the fields offering themselves to my grandparents’ mouths by way of the King James Bible. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren […]

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The Dark Pool

Robert Benchley, the actor, critic and member of the Algonquin Wits, once quipped that “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t.”  At the risk of murdering to dissect and conferring ontological status upon a distinction that is […]

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Poetry and the Problem of Standards

“Building my work, I build myself.” –  Paul Valéry “Thought tends to collect in pools.” – Wallace Stevens Ordinary readers, literary editors, and some English professors confront an inescapable question of judgment: In principle, is it possible, faced with an overwhelming body of work in print, to cull out excellent poems in the way one […]

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The Rest Is Criticism

Time was when there was too much criticism around. Randall Jarrell thought so, when, in the early Fifties, he pronounced it “the bane of our age.” Auden, whose fourth doorstop volume of collected prose recently appeared from Princeton, was similarly disenchanted. In The Dyer’s Hand, Auden announced that, when his daydream College for Bards convened, […]

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Special Issue Introduction: Poetry Criticism

The six papers which will appear this week in the CPR were all delivered on July 31, 2010, at the first annual Western State College Seminar on Poetry Criticism, in Gunnison, Colorado.  The impulse behind the seminar, which we plan to hold each year, was a growing sense that critical writing – by which we […]

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