The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry

The Modern Element: Essays on Contemporary Poetry

by Adam Kirsch
     
 

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A collection of bold, insightful, and controversial essays by “a poetry critic of the very first order” (New York Times).
Over the last ten years, through essays in The New Republic, The New Yorker, and other magazines, Adam Kirsch—“one of the most promising young poet-critics in America” (Los Angeles Times)—has established

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Overview

A collection of bold, insightful, and controversial essays by “a poetry critic of the very first order” (New York Times).
Over the last ten years, through essays in The New Republic, The New Yorker, and other magazines, Adam Kirsch—“one of the most promising young poet-critics in America” (Los Angeles Times)—has established himself among the most controversial and fearless critics writing today. Sure to cause heated debate, this collection of essays surveys the world of contemporary poetry with boldness and insight, whether Kirsch is scrutinizing the reputation of popular poets such as Billy Collins and Sharon Olds or admiring the achievement of writers as different as Derek Walcott, Czeslaw Milosz, and Frederick Seidel. For readers who want an introduction to the complex world of contemporary American poetry, from major figures like Jorie Graham to the most promising poets of the younger generation, Kirsch offers close readings and bold judgments. For readers who already know that world, The Modern Element will offer a surprising and thought-provoking new perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Kirsch, a prize-winning poet (The Thousand Wells), a widely published author (Wounded Surgeon), and a critic for the New York Sun, cuts to the heart of modernism's poetic tradition with 26 essays that mitigate a cacophony of fashionableness in contemporary poetry and its criticism. Ten years in the writing, this book explores and analyzes the work of 23 leading contemporary poets who represent the second half of the 20th century and the early 21st century. As poet exemplars, Matthew Arnold and T.S. Eliot (The Waste Land) carry Kirsch's pursuit of the vital in modern poetry within the heart of his subject's works. The result is a disambiguation of essential from inessential elements in contemporary poetry and within a range of its interpretations. We are not left bereft. As such, one essay features the work of four young poets who are "doing some of the most moving and vital writing of their poetic generation." His appraisal, rigorously bold and provocative, strips modern poetic tradition to its ultimate predicament: "to surrender to complexity" an onerous feat of ironic simplicity. A discerning critique recommended for academic libraries, particularly those with strong literature collections.
—Katharine A. Webb Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393062717
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/07/2008
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
788,133
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

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