"One of the most promising young poet-critics in America" (Los Angeles Times) examines a revolutionary generation of poets.Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Randall Jarrell, and Delmore Schwartz formed one of the great constellations of talent in American literature. In the decades after World War II, they changed American poetry forever by putting themselves at risk in their poems in a new and provocative way. Their daring work helped to inspire the popular style of poetry now known as "confessional." But partly as a result of their openness, they have become better known for their tumultuous lives—afflicted by mental illness, alcoholism, and suicide—than for their work. This book reclaims their achievement by offering critical "biographies of the poetry"—tracing the development of each poet's work, exploring their major themes and techniques, and examining how they transformed life into art. An ideal introduction for readers coming to these major American poets for the first time, it will also help veteran readers to appreciate their work in a new light.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||686 KB|
About the Author
Adam Kirsch is a poet, literary critic, and the director of the master’s program in Jewish studies at Columbia University. He is a also columnist for Tablet and a contributor to the New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker. He lives in New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Adam Kirsch has written an interesting 'surgical procedure' in the THE WOUNDED SURGEON: he defends the so-called 'Confessional Poets' Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Randall Jarrell, and Delmore Schwartz whose work from 1940 through the 1970s, praising 'the resolve, not to say heroism, that these poets displayed by submitting their most intimate and painful experiences to the objective discipline of art.' In clear and at all times illuminating prose Kirsch examines each of these six poets and relates the personal lives that influenced their major works. Not a gossip column this, but an erudite exploration of how pain and death and disappointment and tragedy of all manner drove these poets to validate their own sorrows and rage rather that imagining those feelings or assigning them to fictitious personages.While most everyone knows the life and times and resulting poetry of Sylvia Plath (endless biographies and films have seen to that), few of the others' lives are understood. Kirsch sets the record straight and in doing so makes lucid some of the more obtuse works included in this book.Some would argue that Kirsch's thesis goes on too long, but in getting into the minds and hearts of poets can be a lengthy process. Kirsch has done a fine job of study on these six poets and lets us see how their art transformed their lives by their confessional poetry. Grady Harp