Work of Poetry by John Hollander
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Work of Poetry
By John Hollander

The Work of Poetry

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Format: Paperback

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Work of Poetry by John Hollander

Book 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. This is an elegant, uncompromising affirmation of the extraordinary powers of poetic imagination from a poet whose poems have been hailed by J.D. McClatchy as "ways of thinking on paper."

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780231108973
ISBN-10: 0231108974
Format: Paperback
(230mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: Columbia University Press
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publish Date: 11-Aug-1998
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author John Hollander

Rhyme's Reason by John Hollander Rhyme's Reason, Paperback (February 2015)

Surveys the schemes, patterns and forms of English verse, and illustrates each variation with an original and witty self-descriptive example. In this fourth edition, the authors offer a personal take on why the book has played such an important role in the education of young poets and student scholars.

Tricks of the Light by John Hollander Tricks of the Light, Hardback (September 2007)

Explores the often-fraught relationships between domestic animals and humans through mythological figurations, vibrant thought, and late-modern lyrics that seem to test their own boundaries.

I Speak of the City by John Hollander I Speak of the City, Paperback (August 2007)

A collection of poems assembled about New York. Beginning with an early piece by Jacob Steendam (from when the city was called New Amsterdam) and continuing through poems written in the aftermath of 9/11, this anthology features voices from more than a dozen countries.

» View all books by John Hollander


US Kirkus Review » Cautionary words about poetry from an idiosyncratic and surprising critic and poet. Hollander, usually regarded as a conservative observer of things poetic, both lives up to his reputation and defies it willingly in this essay collection. The Yale professor (and Bollingen Prize and MacArthur fellowship winner) predictably decries, for example, the dominance of creative-writing programs in contemporary America, blaming them in part for the rise of underachieving free verse and for an oversupply of poets who may not deserve the name. "Free verse . . . is very easy to write if you don't know how," he comments, convinced that many self-styled poets don't. "Good poets know how," he notes - as if we couldn't figure that out for ourselves. At his best, Hollander abandons contempt and complaint in favor of real eloquence and mindfulness. For instance, his essays about poets May Swenson and Elizabeth Bishop are models of insight and stylistic clarity and tact. Anyone interested in poetry or criticism must read them. Hollander on Swenson: "Let words play with each other and they will do the imagination's work. As she herself observed in the preface to a selection of her poems that she'd made for children and that highlights the matter of puzzle and riddle in all poetry: 'Notice how a poet's games are called his "works" - and how the "work" you do to solve a poem is really play. . . .' Very, very good poetry does indeed make temporary poets of its readers, just as the inventiveness of poetry is itself so often a kind of interpretation." Hollander's comparisons and contrasts among poets are often beguiling, as in his consideration of Edgar Lee Masters, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the relationship between poetry and dreaming. His imagination is unpredictable and stimulating, especially when he does not assume too much about his audience's familiarity with, or views on, poetry. He smites, he laments, but he also enlightens. (Kirkus Reviews)

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