Why Write Poetry?: Modern Poets Defending Their Art Jeannine Johnson

ISBN: 9780838641057

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Why Write Poetry?: Modern Poets Defending Their Art  by  Jeannine Johnson

Why Write Poetry?: Modern Poets Defending Their Art by Jeannine Johnson
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Poets have long been defending poetry in prose, and essays by Sidney, Shelley, and others are a familiar and important part of the Anglo-American literary tradition. This book identifies and examines a related genre--the verse defense ofMorePoets have long been defending poetry in prose, and essays by Sidney, Shelley, and others are a familiar and important part of the Anglo-American literary tradition. This book identifies and examines a related genre--the verse defense of poetry--which shares the same impulse that has led to the composition of prose essays: namely, the desire to protect poetry from its detractors and to promote its value as a vital human endeavor.

In the last century or so, this impulse to engage questions of poetrys value in poems has become increasingly widespread, and it has dominated the careers of at least five poets: H.D., Wallace Stevens, W. H. Auden, Adrienne Rich, and Geoffrey Hill. Though these poets espouse very different aesthetic principles, they, like many of their contemporaries, have repeatedly turned to apology in their verse.

At first glance this seems an odd gesture, given that the readers and writers of poetry are those who least need convincing of poetrys worthiness. But questioning poetry in verse is a form of lyric introspection that is productive and well-suited for a modern poet. In an age in which the general public attitude toward poetry may be characterized as one of indifference, defense helps these authors make a claim for poetrys cultural relevance, as well as for its private profit.



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