White Paper: On Contemporary American Poetry

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
How do modern American poets wrest meaning from everyday experience and wider frames of reality? Confessional lyricist W. D. Snodgrass, notes poet McClatchy ( Stars Principal ), cast himself as Orpheus to descend into the emotional underworld of his failed marriage. In a sharp contrast, the author proffers Robert Penn Warren, who achieved self-definition when he abandoned cultural mythologies and confronted history directly. This clutch of erudite essays offers intensive textual readings of 11 poets. McClatchy weaves Freudian explications into his assessments; we see, for example, how Robert Lowell projected his manic-depressive discontents onto civilization and how John Berryman, who saw his father commit sucide when he was 12, undertook a poetic struggle to conquer death ``by becoming father of himself.'' Elizabeth Bishop, Anthony Hecht, Amy Clampitt and Sylvia Plath are among the poets discussed. (May)
Library Journal
McClatchy's compilation of his various essays on contemporary poets is acutely reasoned, often elucidating, and fueled by intelligence and affection for poetry. As he himself suggests, that he is an established poet may bias the critical choices he makes in this work. But his choices are justified: some of our best known and most often studied poets, such as Lowell, Bishop, and Plath, are attended to, as are some lesser-known writers. Filled with the vital curiosity that leads a reader through a poem, McClatchy's opening essay on reading poetry outlines this process of discovery while reaffirming the value of critical reading. His essays, which vary in length, format, and approach, will be useful and rewarding to students, teachers, and any readers wanting to make sense of this diffuse genre.-- Jean Keleher, Wally Findlay Galleries, Chicago
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231069458
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1990
  • Pages: 351

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