The Resistance to Poetry

The Resistance to Poetry

by James Longenbach
     
 

ISBN-10: 0226492508

ISBN-13: 9780226492506

Pub. Date: 11/21/2005

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Poems inspire our trust, argues James Longenbach in this bracing work, because they don't necessarily ask to be trusted. Theirs is the language of self-questioning—metaphors that turn against themselves, syntax that moves one way because it threatens to move another. Poems resist themselves more strenuously than they are resisted by the cultures receiving

…  See more details below

Overview

Poems inspire our trust, argues James Longenbach in this bracing work, because they don't necessarily ask to be trusted. Theirs is the language of self-questioning—metaphors that turn against themselves, syntax that moves one way because it threatens to move another. Poems resist themselves more strenuously than they are resisted by the cultures receiving them.

But the resistance to poetry is quite specifically the wonder of poetry. Considering a wide array of poets, from Virgil and Milton to Dickinson and Glück, Longenbach suggests that poems convey knowledge only inasmuch as they refuse to be vehicles for the efficient transmission of knowledge. In fact, this self-resistance is the source of the reader's pleasure: we read poetry not to escape difficulty but to embrace it.

An astute writer and critic of poems, Longenbach makes his case through a sustained engagement with the language of poetry. Each chapter brings a fresh perspective to a crucial aspect of poetry (line, syntax, figurative language, voice, disjunction) and shows that the power of poetry depends less on meaning than on the way in which it means—on the temporal process we negotiate in the act of reading or writing a poem. Readers and writers who embrace that process, Longenbach asserts, inevitably recoil from the exaggeration of the cultural power of poetry in full awareness that to inflate a poem's claim on our attention is to weaken it.

A graceful and skilled study, The Resistance to Poetry honors poetry by allowing it to be what it is. This book arrives at a critical moment—at a time when many people are trying to mold and market poetry into something it is not.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226492506
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
11/21/2005
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
1,440,424
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
I. The Resistance to Poetry
II. The End of the Line
III. Forms of Disjunction
IV. Song and Story
V. Untidy Activity
VI. The Spokenness of Poetry
VII. The Other Hand
VIII. Leaving Things Out
IX. Composed Wonder
Bibliography
Index

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >