How Poets See the World: The Art of Description in Contemporary Poetry

Overview


Although readers of prose fiction sometimes find descriptive passages superfluous or boring, description itself is often the most important aspect of a poem. This book examines how a variety of contemporary poets use description in their work. Description has been the great burden of poetry. How do poets see the world? How do they look at it? What do they look for? Is description an end in itself, or a means of expressing desire? Ezra Pound demanded that a poem should represent the external world as objectively ...
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Overview


Although readers of prose fiction sometimes find descriptive passages superfluous or boring, description itself is often the most important aspect of a poem. This book examines how a variety of contemporary poets use description in their work. Description has been the great burden of poetry. How do poets see the world? How do they look at it? What do they look for? Is description an end in itself, or a means of expressing desire? Ezra Pound demanded that a poem should represent the external world as objectively and directly as possible, and William Butler Yeats, in his introduction to The Oxford Book of Modern Verse (1936), said that he and his generation were rebelling against, inter alia, "irrelevant descriptions of nature" in the work of their predecessors. The poets in this book, however, who are distinct in many ways from one another, all observe the external world of nature or the reflected world of art and make relevant poems out of their observations.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Spiegelman's masterly study of the persistence of the descriptive impulse in contemporary poetry, ranging from Tomlinson's "just looking" (the play on words is Tomlinson's) to Graham's ongoing search for "a new way of looking," demonstrated how resourceful poets of various stripes engage themselves and the reader in inventive acts of looking at the visible world. Spiegelman has served his poets, and the art of poetry, well."--Partial Answers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195332926
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/12/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Willard Spiegelman
Willard Spiegelman



Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University and has been editor of the Southwest Review since 1984. He lives in Dallas, Texas.

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Table of Contents

1. "The Way Things Look Each Day": Poetry, Description, Nature
2. "Just Looking": Charles Tomlinson and the "Labour of Observation"
3. What to Make of an Augmented Thing: Amy Clampitt's Syntactic Dramas
4. Charles Wright and the "Metaphysics of the Quotidian"
5. "A Space for Boundless Revery": Varieties of Ekphrastic Experience
6. John Ashbery's Haunted Landscapes
7. Jorie Graham's "New Way of Looking"

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