The Renegade: Writings on Poetry and a Few Other Things

The Renegade: Writings on Poetry and a Few Other Things

by Charles Simic
     
 

The fifteenth U.S. Poet Laureate collects his latest essays on subjects ranging from poetry to his childhood years in Belgrade.
In these essays, Charles Simic delves into the lives and work of poets, novelists, artists, and playwrights, beginning with his own experiences before turning to those of Christopher Marlowe, Odilon Redon, W. S. Sebald, Louise

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Overview

The fifteenth U.S. Poet Laureate collects his latest essays on subjects ranging from poetry to his childhood years in Belgrade.
In these essays, Charles Simic delves into the lives and work of poets, novelists, artists, and playwrights, beginning with his own experiences before turning to those of Christopher Marlowe, Odilon Redon, W. S. Sebald, Louise Glu¨ck, and many more. Throughout he celebrates the renegade spirit, whether it inspires a rogue ant to depart from his prescribed path or a poet to write unfashionably honest verse.Simic brings the personal worlds of each writer and artist to life, discussing their friends, homes, influences, and the rooms that shaped their outlooks. His portraits urge the reader to regard writers and artists as protean, fallible men and women rather than as immutable icons, and he reveals the key turning points in the creative lives of his subjects, noting their creative failures as often as he does their successes. He is unflinching in his analyses of even the most beloved cultural figures, following his enthralling praises with unforgettable, piercing critiques.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

U.S. poet laureate Simic casts his knowing eye over a range of subjects in 16 biographical/critical pieces, many originally published in the New York Review of Books and other journals. In the opening, autobiographical piece, Simic, born in 1938, recalls his Belgrade, Yugoslavia, childhood unsentimentally ("I had a happy childhood despite droning planes, deafening explosions, and people hung from lampposts. I mean, it's not like I knew better...."), and continues with his arrival in America as a teenager and how his growing distaste for Serbian nationalism turned him into a renegade. Simic then roves outward to figures such as the misunderstood and underappreciated E.A. Robinson; melancholy Robert Creeley of Black Mountain Review fame; surrealist-inspired Yves Bonnefoy; and fellow U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall. He examines the endless quirks of Witold Gombrowicz, the eclectic originality of W.G. Sebald and certainly one of the greatest artistic renegades anywhere, Christopher Marlowe. Also among these elegant, penetrating writings are essays on a MoMA exhibit of Dada and on Whitman, not to mention a memorable segue on the world's worst haircut. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Simic (The World Doesn't End) collects his recent reviews and essays, which together give a good understanding of his concepts of poetry, writing, morality, and the imagination. His writings on Robert Creeley and Donald Hall set the parameters for his ideas of what poetry should be. He discusses, among other authors, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Louise GlA'ck, Elizabeth Bishop, Anne Carson, Yves Bonnefoy, and Zbigniew Herbert. Simic's readings of poetry are lucid and nuanced and explain why he considers some poems and books successful as art. Included are personal observations and reflections; especially good is his "Reading About Utopia in New York City." He reviews the dada artists and Odilon Redon and discusses works by Daniel Mendelsohn and Witold Gombrowicz and plays of Christopher Marlowe. Simic explains his likes and dislikes and allows the reader to make a fair judgment. Recommended for literature collections.
—Gene Shaw

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807615942
Publisher:
Braziller, George Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
226
Sales rank:
1,345,916
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.70(d)

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