Poetry, argues James Longenbach, is its own best enemy. Examining a wide array of poets, from Callimachus to Louise Gluck, he explains that the resistance to poetry is, quite specifically, the wonder of poetry. Poems do convey knowledge, he suggests, but they do so in forms that continually work against their being facile vehicles for its efficient transmission. In fact, this self-resistance is the source of the reader's pleasure: we read poetry not to escape difficulty but to embrace it. Longenbach makes his case through a sustained engagement with the language of poems. Each chapter brings a fresh perspective to a crucial aspect of poetry (line, syntax, figurative language, voice, disjunction), showing that the power of language depends less on meaning than on the way in which it means - on the temporal process we negotiate in the act of reading or writing a poem. A graceful and skilled study, "The Resistance to Poetry" comes at a crucial time - a time when many people are trying to mold and market poetry into something it is not.
Buy Resistance to Poetry book by James Longenbach from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(216mm x 181mm x 11mm)
University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
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Author Biography - James Longenbach
James Longenbach is the Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester and the author of four distinguished critical studies of modern literature, most recently Modern Poetry after Modernism. His two books of poems, Threshold and Fleet River, are published by the University of Chicago Press.