By William Logan
William Logan has been a thorn within the part of yank poetry for greater than 3 many years. notwithstanding he has been known as the “most hated guy in American poetry,” his witty and articulate reports have reminded us how muscular sturdy reviewing will be.
These new essays and reports take poetry at its note, usually discovering in its toughest circumstances the best purposes for wish. Logan starts off with a witty polemic opposed to the desire to have critics announce their aesthetics each time they start a evaluate. “The insufferable Rightness of Criticism” is a plea to learn these critics who acquired it flawed once they reviewed Lyrical Ballads or Leaves of Grass or The Waste Land. occasionally, he argues, such critics observed precisely what those books were—they observed the poems simple, but usually didn't see that they have been poems.
In such wrongheaded feedback, readers can recuperate the floor damaged by way of such groundbreaking books. Logan appears to be like back on the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Frank O’Hara, and Philip Larkin; on the letters of T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Lowell; and at new books by way of Louise Glück and Seamus Heaney.
Always desirous to overturn settled judgments, Logan argues that international struggle II poets have been finally larger than the much-lauded poets of worldwide warfare I.
He revisits the secretly revised version of Robert Frost’s notebooks, displaying that the bad blunders ruining the 1st version nonetheless exist. the main impressive essay is “Elizabeth Bishop at summer season Camp,” which prints for the 1st time her early adolescent verse, besides the intimate letters written to the 1st woman she enjoyed.
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Extra info for Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry
The greater the separateness and horizontal disconnection of the stories and groups of stories in relation to one another, compared with the Iliad and the Odyssey, the stronger is their general vertical connection, which holds them all together and which is entirely lacking in Homer. Each of the great figures of the Old Testament, from Adam to the prophets, embodies a moment of this vertical connection. God chose and formed these men to the end of embodying his essence and will-yet choice and formation do not coincide, for the latter proceeds gradually, historically, during the earthly life of him upon whom the choice has fallen.
If certain elements survived which did not immediately fit in, interpretation took care of them; and so the reader is at every moment aware of the universal religio-historical perspective which gives the individual stories their general meaning and purpose. The greater the separateness and horizontal disconnection of the stories and groups of stories in relation to one another, compared with the Iliad and the Odyssey, the stronger is their general vertical connection, which holds them all together and which is entirely lacking in Homer.
How the process is accomplished, what terrible trials such a formation inflicts, can be seen from our story of Abraham's sacrifice. Herein lies the reason why the great figures of the Old Testament are so much more fully developed, so much more fraught with their own biographical past, so much more distinct as individuals, than are the Homeric heroes. Achilles and Odysseus are splendidly described in many well-ordered words, epithets cling to them, their emotions are constantly displayed in their words and deeds-but they have no development, and their life-histories are clearly set forth once and for all.
Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry by William Logan