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Sweet Nothings: An Anthology of Rock and Roll in American Poetryby Jim Elledge
Synopses & Reviews
"Every lovesick summer has its song,
And this one I pretended to despise.
But if I were alone when it came on,
I turned it up full-blast to sing along--
A primal scream in croaky baritone,
The notes all flat, the lyrics mostly slurred--
No wonder I spent so much time along
Making the rounds in Dad's old Thunderbird."
--From "Cruising with the Beach Boys" by Dana Gioia
No one should be surprised that rock and roll music turns up in the work of many of the Baby-Boom poets, where it conjures up poignant memories, evokes a specific mood, or haunts the poets' psychic landscape. Arranged in a loosely thematic manner, the 125 poems in Sweet Nothings mirror the varied forms of rock and roll, mimic its sounds, bask in its innocence, draw inspiration from its rebelliousness. For this collection Jim Elledge has gathered works by 79 poets, among them some of the most highly regarded poets of our time: Frank O'Hara, Joyce Carol Oates, David Wojahn, Thom Gunn, Rita Dove, Lynda Hull, Albert Goldbarth, Lisel Mueller, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gary Soto, William Matthews. In the final section of the book the poets comment on the relationship between their works and rock and roll.
Undoubtedly, rock and roll has influenced the poets included in Sweet Nothings in other, more subtle ways than simply thematically. Arranged in a loosely thematic manner, Sweet Nothings is meant to mirror the varied music that rock and roll has evolved into during its four-decade existence.
About the Author
JIM ELLEDGE, Associate Professor of English at Illinois State University, has published two collections of poetry, Various Envies and Nothing Nice, and four critical volumes, including Frank O'Hara: To Be True to a City, and Weldon Kees: A Critical Introduction. Formerly Assistant Editor of Poetry, he currently edits The Illinois Review.
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