Music Of What Happens / Edition 1

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Overview

Join Professor Helen Vendler in her course lecture on the Yeats poem "Among School Children". View her insightful and passionate analysis along with a condensed reading and student comments on the course.

Helen Vendler has become one of our most trusted companions in reading poetry. Among critics today she has an unrivaled ability to show--lucidly and invitingly--just what a poem does. Insight and wit distinguish these essays, in which Vendler elucidates the function of criticism as well as different critical methods and styles. Poets commented on range from Seamus Heaney and Czeslaw Milosz to Silvia Plath, James Merrill, and Amy Clampitt.

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Editorial Reviews

Chicago Tribune

Vendler is essential, whether one delights or despairs in her views. More, The Music of What Happens is the essential Vendler.
— G. E. Murray

Boston Globe

Any criticism that develops so complex a sense of what really good poetry does, and develops it so lovingly, is to be cherished.
— Alan Williamson

Times Literary Supplement

Vendler's is an ample book...and will give us enough to go on digesting and arguing about, approving and resisting, for a long time yet.
— Charles Tomlinson

Bloomsbury Review

The Music of What Happens, with its deft, precise treatment of the configurative strategies of Ashbery, Heaney, Ginsberg, Sexton, and others reminds us why, ultimately, we might put the newspaper down and read a poem instead.

— Robert Lindsey,

Choice
Polite, decisive, and insightful, Vendler is our most distinguished critic of modern poetry. In this collection she deals with writers as diverse as Donald Davie and A. R. Ammons...It is her own likes and dislikes, tirelessly examined and cross-examined, that give her frequent bursts of critical eloquence the foundation of truth.
Chicago Tribune - G. E. Murray
Vendler is essential, whether one delights or despairs in her views. More, The Music of What Happens is the essential Vendler.
Boston Globe - Alan Williamson
Any criticism that develops so complex a sense of what really good poetry does, and develops it so lovingly, is to be cherished.
Times Literary Supplement - Charles Tomlinson
Vendler's is an ample book...and will give us enough to go on digesting and arguing about, approving and resisting, for a long time yet.
Bloomsbury Review - Robert Lindsey
The Music of What Happens, with its deft, precise treatment of the configurative strategies of Ashbery, Heaney, Ginsberg, Sexton, and others reminds us why, ultimately, we might put the newspaper down and read a poem instead.
Library Journal
Following The Harvard Book of Contemporary Poetry ( LJ 11/15/85), Vendler's hand-picked anthology of 20th-century American poets, this collection of recent essays gives us deeper insight into the poets Vendler admires. Vendler focuses on a work's uniqueness rather than its meaning or ideology. Like French critic Roland Barthes, she insists that pleasure motivates writers, and her own favorites (Stevens, Merrill, Ammons, Ashbery) prefer invention to social or psychological realism. Vendler sniffs out sloppy writing and overstatement with deadly accuracy: to a poet's claim that Anne Sexton suffered from ``the problematic position of women,'' she asks: ``Was it the problematic position of men . . . that created personal trouble in John Berryman's life?'' Recommended for academic and large public libraries.Lisa Mullenneaux, Iowa City, Ia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674591530
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1988
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 1,407,076
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Helen Vendler is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part I: On Criticism

1. The Function of Criticism

2. Looking for Poetry in America

3. Critical Models: On Geoffrey Hartman

4. Defensive Harmonies: On Harold Bloom

5. The Medley Is the Message: On Roland Barthes

6. The Hunting of Wallace Stevens: Critical Approaches

Part II: On Poetry

7. Lionel Trilling and Wordsworth's Immortality Ode

8. Keats and the Use of Poetry

9. Reading Walt Whitman

Part III: On Poets

10. Seamus Heaney

11. Stephen Spender: Journals and Poems

12. Donald Davie: Self-Portraits in Verse

13. Ted Hughes

14. Czeslaw Milosz

15. John Ashbery, Louise Glück

16. Allen Ginsberg

17. Sylvia Plath

18. Elizabeth Bishop

19. Anne Sexton

20. A. R. Ammons: Dwelling in the Flow of Shapes

Part IV: Recent Writing

21. James Merrill

22. Adrienne Rich, Jared Carter, Philip Levine

23. Charles Wright

24. Amy Clampitt

25. Dave Smith

26. Frank Bidart

27. Michael Blumenthal

28. Louise Glück, Stephen Dunn, Brad Leithauser,

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