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Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry

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Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The place of poetry in modern democracy is no place, according to conventional wisdom. The poet, we hear, is a casualty of mass entertainment and prosaic public culture, banished to the artistic sidelines to compose variations on insipid themes for a dwindling audience. Robert Pinsky, however, argues that this gloomy diagnosis is as wrongheaded as it is familiar. Pinsky, whose remarkable career as a poet itself undermines the view, writes that to portray poetry and democracy as enemies is to radically misconstrue both. The voice of poetry, he shows, resonates with profound themes at the very heart of democratic culture.

There is no one in America better to write on this topic. One of the country's most accomplished poets, Robert Pinsky served an unprecedented two terms as America's Poet Laureate (1997-2000) and led the immensely popular multimedia Favorite Poem Project, which invited Americans to submit and read aloud their favorite poems. Pinsky draws on his experiences and on characteristically sharp and elegant observations of individual poems to argue that expecting poetry to compete with show business is to mistake its greatest democratic strength--its intimate, human scale--as a weakness.

As an expression of individual voice, a poem implicitly allies itself with ideas about individual dignity that are democracy's bedrock, far more than is mass participation. Yet poems also summon up communal life.. Even the most inward-looking work imagines a reader. And in their rhythms and cadences poems carry in their very bones the illusion and dynamic of call and response. Poetry, Pinsky writes, cannot help but mediate between the inner consciousness of the individual reader and the outer world of other people. As part of the entertainment industry, he concludes, poetry will always be small and overlooked. As an art--and one that is inescapably democratic--it is massive and fundamental.

Synopsis:

A two-time Poet Laureate argues that the voice of poetry, in its reflection of the individual and communal life, is at the heart of American culture and should not be mistaken as a casualty of modern mass entertainment and urges readers to reassess poetry

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

I: Culture 1

II: Vocality 19

III: Self-Consciousness 30

IV: Performance 43

V: Social Presence 46

VI: Readers 55

VII: The Narcissistic and the Personal 64

VIII: Models of Culture 73

IX: Conclusion 79

Index of Names 95

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400825158
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Subject:
Literary Criticism : Poetry
Author:
Pinsky, Robert
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
American Language and Literature
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
Political Science and International Relations
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
American literature
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Subject:
Poetry : American - General
Subject:
Literary Criticism : American - General
Publication Date:
February 2005
Binding:
eBooks
Language:
English
Pages:
112

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
History and Social Science » US History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

Democracy, Culture and the Voice of Poetry
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Product details 112 pages Princeton University Press - English 9781400825158 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A two-time Poet Laureate argues that the voice of poetry, in its reflection of the individual and communal life, is at the heart of American culture and should not be mistaken as a casualty of modern mass entertainment and urges readers to reassess poetry
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