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Holding Patterns: Temporary Poetics in Contemporary Poetry

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Argues that if poems are to matter in American culture, they must be read rather than theorized over.
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Editorial Reviews

Arguing that contemporary literary criticism does a disservice to poetry by imposing critical frameworks that many authors of poetry patently reject, McGuiness (writing, Loyola College) attempts to provide a criticism sympathetic to each poem's individual poetic. He discusses works in terms of their "pulse" and finds commonality between the prose statements and the poetic practices of both new and established contemporary poets, including Jorie Graham, Charles Wright, Denis Johnson, and Amy Clampitt. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
Holding Patterns is one of the most original, entertaining, and companionable books about contemporary poetry that I've read in many years. It is remarkably modest and yet exceptionally ambitious at the same time-a powerful and winning combination. McGuiness is an increasingly rare example of an individual critic writing without an eye to the academy, simply an eye to the work.— David St. John, author of Study for the World's Body: New and Selected Poems

"Reading Holding Patterns is like having a drink with an intelligent, like-minded spirit-a contemporary, a lively conversationalist. McGuiness keeps himself in a constant state of exploration and speculation."— Leslie Ullman, author of Slow Work through Sand: Poems"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791449547
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 182
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Daniel McGuiness is Associate Professor of Writing at Loyola College.

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Table of Contents




1. The Static Pulse

2. Recounting Linda Gregg's Ghosts

3. Jorie Graham in Stitches


4. Pictura Poesis: Galvin and Lowell

5. James Wright, Louis Gluck: The Colon

6. Water Everywhere: Merwin, Stafford, Dugan, Merrill

7. Forche, Fenton, and Fighting


8. Taking or Leaving It: Amy Clampitt

9. Holes in the Web: Denis Johnson

10. The Long Line in Jorie Graham and Charles Wright





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