Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry

Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry

by Carl Phillips
     
 

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The Award-winning poet Carl Phillips grapples with issues of authority, identity, and beauty in these sensual and deeply intelligent essays

The "coin of the realm" is, classically, the currency that for any culture most holds value. In art, as in life, the poet Carl Phillips argues, that currency includes beauty, risk, and authority-values of meaning and

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Overview

The Award-winning poet Carl Phillips grapples with issues of authority, identity, and beauty in these sensual and deeply intelligent essays

The "coin of the realm" is, classically, the currency that for any culture most holds value. In art, as in life, the poet Carl Phillips argues, that currency includes beauty, risk, and authority-values of meaning and complexity that all too often go disregarded. Together, these essays become an invaluable statement for the necessary-and necessarily difficult-work of the imagination and the will, even when, as Phillips states in his title essay, "the last thing that most human beings seem capable of trusting naturally-instinctively-is themselves, their own judgment."

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Readers of Carl Phillips's poetry will have some preparation for the pleasures and insights of this volume, particularly its subtlety, originality, and historical range. Yet Coin of the Realm will also be admired as a prose work that stands alone. Incisive essays on George Herbert, the Psalms, the place of race and identity in habits of perception and reading, and the author's growth as a writer are unified by central questions of beauty and ethics that will be of interest to anyone who cares about literature.” —Susan Stewart
Library Journal
The author of seven books of poetry, Phillips turns his talents to an explication of the art and artistry of the poem, treating topics as diverse as beauty, construction, association, and identity. He begins with the beginning of poetry itself-fable and myth-but also critiques the poetry present in the Psalms (King James version). From there, he moves through a wide historical range of poetry, guided by his knowledge of genre, style, and technique. Although his featured poets are a scant, highly select group-e.g., Herbert, Eliot, Plath, and Moore-their chapters are well worth reading for the author's thoroughness. Other poets are mentioned in the context of a specific technique or style of poetry they exemplify. The categories explored include metaphysical poetry, the confessional style, the terse lines of the minimal poem, and the controlled verbosity of the prose poem. One chapter also features an epistolary interview (email and fax) with the author, conducted by poet Nick Flynn. Recommended for academic libraries, of course, but also for public libraries that refuse to overlook the importance of the craft of poetry.-Nedra Crowe-Evers, Sacramento P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555974015
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Publication date:
06/01/2004
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,177,811
Product dimensions:
6.08(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.76(d)

Meet the Author

Carl Phillips is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Rock Harbor and The Tether, which won the Kingsley Tufts Award; he is also the translator of Sophocles' Philoctetes. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

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