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Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry

by

Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Burt's acknowledged purpose as a critic is to build poetry readership for contemporary lyric poetry by offering some general advice on reading disparate works, by alerting us to worthwhile new voices, and by praising more poets than most of us are able to read. He writes almost exclusively about American poets. All of his essays explore poetry that he has been glad to read, he says, and come from 'an interest in poems, as against an interest in poetry.'" Stephen Sossaman, Cerise Press (Read the entire Cerise Press review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Stephen Burt's Close Calls with Nonsense provokes readers into the elliptical worlds of Rae Armantrout, Paul Muldoon, C. D. Wright, and other contemporary poets whose complexities make them challenging, original, and, finally, readable. Burts intelligence and enthusiasm introduce both tentative and longtime poetry readers to the rewards of reading new poetry. As Burt writes in the title essay: "The poets I know don't want to be famous people half so much as they want their best poems read; I want to help you find and read them. I write here for people who want to read more new poetry but somehow never get around to it; for people who enjoy Seamus Heaney or Elizabeth Bishop and want to know what next; for people who enjoy John Ashbery or Anne Carson but aren't sure why; and, especially, for people who read the half-column poems in glossy magazines and ask, 'Is that all there is?'"

A National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, Close Calls with Nonsense provokes readers into the elliptical worlds of Rae Armantrout, Paul Muldoon, C. D. Wright, and other contemporary poets whose complexities make them challenging, original, and, finally, readable. Burt's intelligence and enthusiasm introduce both tentative and longtime poetry readers to the rewards of reading new poetry.

Review:

"This collection of 30 essays, many of which began as book reviews, confirms Stephen Burt's reputation as the leading poetry critic of his generation. Informative, matter-of-fact and abounding with an excited spirit more common to film and pop music reviews than to literary criticism, these essays will appeal to the unpracticed reader of contemporary poetry as well as the seasoned reader. The author of two full-length critical studies of poetry and two poetry collections, Burt comes to the poets he considers — including Rea Armantrout, Juan Felipe Herrera, Paul Muldoon and James Merrill — as both a scholar and a practitioner of the art, but he eschews the specialist's jargon as well as the indulgent lyricality that makes some poets' criticism more dazzling than illuminating. He prefers a more methodical, practical approach, carefully mapping a poet's characteristic formal habits, thematic concerns and apparent affinities and influences, asking nuts-and-bolts questions like 'Who was [Frank] O'Hara, and how did he learn to write like that?'Burt has an encyclopedist's will to explicate and taxonomize — his branding of the 'Elliptical' school of poetry in 1998 (including poets like Lucie Brock-Broido and Mark Levine) garnered enormous attention here and abroad. He never quite manages to figure out exactly how O'Hara came to be O'Hara — how could he? — but he always succeeds in providing the reader with a learned, insightful and energizing blueprint for his or her own reading pleasure and surmise." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Burt is one of the leading poet-critics of his own emerging generation, turning out an astonishing amount of terrific review-based criticism in places like the TLS and New York Times." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

Essays and critical writings on contemporary poetry by Stephen Burt, “the finest critic of his generation” (Lucie Brock-Broido)
 
Stephen Burts Close Calls with Nonsense provokes readers into the elliptical worlds of Rae Armantrout, Paul Muldoon, C. D. Wright, and other contemporary poets whose complexities make them challenging, original, and, finally, readable. Burts intelligence and enthusiasm introduce both tentative and longtime poetry readers to the rewards of reading new poetry. As Burt writes in the title essay: “The poets I know dont want to be famous people half so much as they want their best poems read; I want to help you find and read them. I write here for people who want to read more new poetry but somehow never get around to it; for people who enjoy Seamus Heaney or Elizabeth Bishop and want to know what next; for people who enjoy John Ashbery or Anne Carson but arent sure why; and, especially, for people who read the half-column poems in glossy magazines and ask, ‘Is that all there is?”

About the Author

Stephen Burt is the author of two critical books on poetry as well as two poetry collections, including Parallel Play. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Believer, The Nation, and The New York Times Book Review. He teaches at Harvard University.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781555975210
Author:
Burt, Stephen
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Reference
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Poetry, Modern -- 20th century.
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20090331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
360
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 360 pages Graywolf Press - English 9781555975210 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "This collection of 30 essays, many of which began as book reviews, confirms Stephen Burt's reputation as the leading poetry critic of his generation. Informative, matter-of-fact and abounding with an excited spirit more common to film and pop music reviews than to literary criticism, these essays will appeal to the unpracticed reader of contemporary poetry as well as the seasoned reader. The author of two full-length critical studies of poetry and two poetry collections, Burt comes to the poets he considers — including Rea Armantrout, Juan Felipe Herrera, Paul Muldoon and James Merrill — as both a scholar and a practitioner of the art, but he eschews the specialist's jargon as well as the indulgent lyricality that makes some poets' criticism more dazzling than illuminating. He prefers a more methodical, practical approach, carefully mapping a poet's characteristic formal habits, thematic concerns and apparent affinities and influences, asking nuts-and-bolts questions like 'Who was [Frank] O'Hara, and how did he learn to write like that?'Burt has an encyclopedist's will to explicate and taxonomize — his branding of the 'Elliptical' school of poetry in 1998 (including poets like Lucie Brock-Broido and Mark Levine) garnered enormous attention here and abroad. He never quite manages to figure out exactly how O'Hara came to be O'Hara — how could he? — but he always succeeds in providing the reader with a learned, insightful and energizing blueprint for his or her own reading pleasure and surmise." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Burt's acknowledged purpose as a critic is to build poetry readership for contemporary lyric poetry by offering some general advice on reading disparate works, by alerting us to worthwhile new voices, and by praising more poets than most of us are able to read. He writes almost exclusively about American poets. All of his essays explore poetry that he has been glad to read, he says, and come from 'an interest in poems, as against an interest in poetry.'" (Read the entire Cerise Press review)
"Review" by , "Burt is one of the leading poet-critics of his own emerging generation, turning out an astonishing amount of terrific review-based criticism in places like the TLS and New York Times."
"Synopsis" by ,
Essays and critical writings on contemporary poetry by Stephen Burt, “the finest critic of his generation” (Lucie Brock-Broido)
 
Stephen Burts Close Calls with Nonsense provokes readers into the elliptical worlds of Rae Armantrout, Paul Muldoon, C. D. Wright, and other contemporary poets whose complexities make them challenging, original, and, finally, readable. Burts intelligence and enthusiasm introduce both tentative and longtime poetry readers to the rewards of reading new poetry. As Burt writes in the title essay: “The poets I know dont want to be famous people half so much as they want their best poems read; I want to help you find and read them. I write here for people who want to read more new poetry but somehow never get around to it; for people who enjoy Seamus Heaney or Elizabeth Bishop and want to know what next; for people who enjoy John Ashbery or Anne Carson but arent sure why; and, especially, for people who read the half-column poems in glossy magazines and ask, ‘Is that all there is?”
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