Twenty Questions / Edition 1

Twenty Questions / Edition 1

by J. D. McClatchy
     
 

In Twenty Questions, one of America's finest poet-critics leads readers into the mysteries of poetry: how it draws on our lives, and how it leads us back into them. In a series of linked essays progressing from the autobiographical to the critical--and closing with a remarkable translation of Horace's Ars Poetica unavailable elsewhere--J. D.

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Overview

In Twenty Questions, one of America's finest poet-critics leads readers into the mysteries of poetry: how it draws on our lives, and how it leads us back into them. In a series of linked essays progressing from the autobiographical to the critical--and closing with a remarkable translation of Horace's Ars Poetica unavailable elsewhere--J. D. McClatchy's latest book offers an intimate and illuminating look into the poetic mind.

McClatchy begins with a portrait of his development as a poet and as a man, and provides vibrant details about some of those who helped shape his sensibility--from Anne Sexton in her final days, to Harold Bloom, his enigmatic teacher at Yale, to James Merrill, a wise and witty mentor. All of these glimpses into McClatchy's personal history enhance our understanding of a coming of age from ingenious reader to accomplished poet-critic.

Later sections range through poetry past and present--from Emily Dickinson to Seamus Heaney and W. S. Merwin--with incisive criticism generously interspersed with vivid anecdotes about McClatchy's encounters with other poets' lives and work. A critical unpacking of Alexander Pope's "Epistle to Miss Blount" is interwoven with compassionate psychological portrait of a brilliant poet plagued by both romantic longings and debilitating physical deformities. There are surprising takes on the literary imagination as well: a look at Elizabeth Bishop through her letters, and a tribute to the Broadway lyrics of Stephen Sondheim and the tradition of light verse.

The questions McClatchy poses of poems prompt a fresh look and the last word. Free of scholarly pretension, elegantly and movingly written, Twenty Questions is a bright, open window onto a public and private experience of poetry, to be appreciated by poets, readers, and critics alike.

Columbia University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231111737
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
03/25/1999
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.16(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

ReadingDreamingMy Fountain PenCommonplacesTwenty QuestionsReading PopeAspects of "Battle-Piece"Woman in WhiteWildness Asking for CeremonyAt Her Other DeskLaughter in the SoulSongs of a CurmudgeonThe Exile's SongChiselled BreathSitting Here Strangely on Top of the SunlightThe Lost UplandEncountering the SublimeBraving the ElementsMastersThe Art of Poetry

Columbia University Press

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