Best Worlds, Best Order: Essays on Poetry

Best Worlds, Best Order: Essays on Poetry

by Stephen Dobyns
     
 
In this new edition of Best Words, Best Order, Stephen Dobyns further explains the mystery of the poet's work. Through essays on memory and metaphor, pacing, and the intricacies of voice and tone, and thoughtful appreciations of Chekhov, Ritsos, Mandelstam, and Rilke, Dobyns guides readers and writers through poetry's mysterious twilight communiques. For this

Overview

In this new edition of Best Words, Best Order, Stephen Dobyns further explains the mystery of the poet's work. Through essays on memory and metaphor, pacing, and the intricacies of voice and tone, and thoughtful appreciations of Chekhov, Ritsos, Mandelstam, and Rilke, Dobyns guides readers and writers through poetry's mysterious twilight communiques. For this new second edition, Dobyns has added two new essays, one dealing with the idea of "beauty" in poetry and another dealing with the almost mystical way poets connect seemingly disparate elements in a single work.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Novelist, poet, and teacher Dobyns collects here 13 lectures in which he distinguishes between two kinds of poetry. The first is that of the French symbolists and their followers (Eliot, Pound, Stevens), who felt that "a poem was like a bright light" for the reader to bask in rather than understand. The second type of poem, and the one Dobyns himself favors, is "a small machine [made] out of words" that re-creates the poet's feelings "in another human being, any time, any place." By that standard these essays are wonderfully efficient little machines, reproducing in the reader Dobyns's deep understanding of and affection for the work of such peers as Rilke, Mandelstam, and Chekhov. The one indispensable essay, though, is the 79-page "Notes on Free Verse," an encyclopedic treatise notable for its historical sweep, erudition, and passion for the craft Dobyns himself practices so well. For literature collections.David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
Booknews
Dobyns works against his title as all good poets must, teasing from Coleridge's transparency the intuitive mysteries of writing poetry and making these experiences articulate. His essays exhibit the same craft and clarity as his poetry and novels, resurrecting (thank God) the importance of the reader, technical questions of pacing, tone, voice, and the less easily negotiable terrain of metaphor and its ability to transmit emotional experience. Additionally, the volume liberally samples from the ideas and work of an impressive array of poets, including specific critical readings of Rilke, Mandelstam, Chekhov, Ritsos. Dobyns relies on personal reminisces to communicate his poetic priorities, making the essays ideal for working writers and students alike. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312172299
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
06/15/1997
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.94(d)

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Meet the Author

Stephen Dobyns is the author of eight volumes of poetry, among them Cemetery Nights and Velocities. He has also written 17 novels.

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