Why Poetry Matters

Why Poetry Matters

by Jay Parini
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0300151462

ISBN-13: 9780300151466

Pub. Date: 03/31/2009

Publisher: Yale University Press

Poetry doesn’t matter to most people, observes Jay Parini at the opening of this book. But, undeterred, he commences a deeply felt meditation on poetry, its language and meaning, and its power to open minds and transform lives. By the end of the book, Parini has recovered a truth often obscured by our clamorous culture: without poetry, we live only

Overview

Poetry doesn’t matter to most people, observes Jay Parini at the opening of this book. But, undeterred, he commences a deeply felt meditation on poetry, its language and meaning, and its power to open minds and transform lives. By the end of the book, Parini has recovered a truth often obscured by our clamorous culture: without poetry, we live only partially, not fully conscious of the possibilities that life affords. Poetry indeed matters.

A gifted poet and acclaimed teacher, Parini begins by looking at defenses of poetry written over the centuries. He ponders Aristotle, Horace, and Longinus, and moves on through Sidney, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Eliot, Frost, Stevens, and others. Parini examines the importance of poetic voice and the mysteries of metaphor. He argues that a poet’s originality depends on a deep understanding of the traditions of political poetry, nature poetry, and religious poetry.

Writing with a casual grace, Parini avoids jargon and makes his case in concise, direct terms: the mind of the poet supplies a light to the minds of others, kindling their imaginations, helping them to live their lives. The author’s love of poetry suffuses this insightful book—a volume for all readers interested in a fresh introduction to the art that lies at the center of Western civilization.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300151466
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
03/31/2009
Series:
Why X Matters Series
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
1,255,015
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Preface     ix
Defending Poetry     1
Language     23
The Personal Voice     43
The Way of Metaphor     65
Tradition and Originality     79
Form and Freedom     99
The Politics of Poetry     115
A Natural World     133
Divine Parameters: A Reading of Four Quartets     155
Conclusion     177
Notes     183
Acknowledgments     190
Index     191
Credits     205

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