A Way of Happening: Observations of Contemporary Poetry [NOOK Book]

Overview


One of our most acclaimed and versatile authors, Fred Chappell is comfortably at home in fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. A Way of Happening gathers his essays and reviews of contemporary poetry. Chappell consider new writers as well as more established authors, including Alfred Corn, William Matthews, A. R. Ammons, Linda Pastan, Julia Randall, Cornelius Eady, Alan Shapiro, and many others. And there are essays on the plight of the critic ("Thanks but No Thanks") and the delicate role of the writing ...
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A Way of Happening: Observations of Contemporary Poetry

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Overview


One of our most acclaimed and versatile authors, Fred Chappell is comfortably at home in fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. A Way of Happening gathers his essays and reviews of contemporary poetry. Chappell consider new writers as well as more established authors, including Alfred Corn, William Matthews, A. R. Ammons, Linda Pastan, Julia Randall, Cornelius Eady, Alan Shapiro, and many others. And there are essays on the plight of the critic ("Thanks but No Thanks") and the delicate role of the writing teacher ("First Night Come Round Again").

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Celebrated already as an award-winning poet and novelist with over two dozen books to his credit, Chappell comes across in this collection as the ideal of the well-read, chatty critic. Most of these 17 pieces have appeared previously in The Georgia Review and other journals, but they deserve to be gathered into a single collection. Chappell discusses five or six poets in detail in each essay and mentions scores of others, so that the result is an encyclopedic work of criticism that not only presents fresh ideas about familiar poets but also introduces new writers whose work is well worth discovering. And to make a good collection even better, Chappell includes "First Night Come Round Again," probably the best essay ever written on the role of the writing teacher. This is a savvy pick for readers and writers of poetry and an absolutely essential one for those who teach it.David Kirby, Florida State Univ., Tallahassee
Kirkus Reviews
A rare, reasonable critic strikes. If "reasonable" means alert and without apparent self- interest, as well as exuberantly free of academese, then Chappell fits the bill nicely. The novelist and poet (a winner of the Bollingen Prize) writes as though unconstrained by the imperatives of narrow professionalism that now tend to dominate so much critical writing about literature. His approach is humble yet insistent ("a critic needs a strong motive, for the troubles are many and the pleasures are few"). With brio and even, sometimes, with humor, Chappell explores first books by poets; the "political bias" displayed in many anthologies of poetry; the work of current women poets in the South; and the uses (and misuses) of maxims in poems. Although he writes for knowledgeable readers, he won't frighten off the provisionally interested newcomer. That's because Chappell has managed to bring a sense of discovery even to familiar subjects. In his opening essay, "Thanks but No Thanks," for instance, he both questions and justifies the critic's mission, criticizing some perils and errors of reviewers: "If a poet too habitually in the company of other poets may run the danger of making her work derivative, then may not a critic too often surrounded by other critics risk being faddish?" However, the perennially thorny subject of teaching writing doesn't show Chappell at his best. In "First Night Come Round Again," a laborious piece of extended polemic, he pompously considers the situation of "Mr. Creative Writing Teacher," who seems to be respected by no one for trying to do the apparently impossible: instructing students in writing poems, etc. Chappell also misses an obvious opportunity toexpand the means and range of voice possible for criticism now; as a traditionalist, he is not especially eager to write against the grain, unfortunately. But his traditionalism is fair, clear, vigorous, and sane.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466860513
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 12/17/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • File size: 425 KB

Meet the Author


Fred Chappell is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and fiction. His most recent books are the novel Farewell, I'm Bound to Leave you (Picador USA) and Spring Garden: New and Selected Poems (Louisiana State University Press). He was a judge for the 1997 National Book Award for Poetry and his writing has received many major prizes, including the Bollingen Prize in Poetry from Yale University (shared with John Ashbery), the Ingersoll Foundation's T.S. Eliot Award, the Aiken/Taylor Award from the University of the South, and the Award in Literature from the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He teaches at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, where he lives with his wife, Susan.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Thanks but No Thanks: An Introduction 1
Purple Patches, Fuddle, and the Hard Noon Light 14
Attempts upon Delight: Six Poetry Books 26
Family Matters 37
Every Poet in His Humor 51
Brief Cases: Naked Enterprises 67
Maiden Voyages and Their Pilots 78
Five New Southern Women Poets 98
An Idiom of Uncertainty: Southern Poetry Now 112
First Night Come Round Again 125
Taking Sides: Six Poetry Anthologies 146
Figured Carpets: The Collected and the Selected 175
Once upon a Time: Narrative Poetry Returns? 198
Piecework: The Longer Poem Returns 215
The Contemporary Long Poem: Minding the Kinds 236
Let Me Count the Ways: Five Love Poets 254
Wise Saws When Last Seen 273
"A Million Million Suns": Poetry and Science 293
Afterword 313
List of Books Reviewed 315
List of Authors and Editors Reviewed 321
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