Synopses & Reviews
The award-winning poet Carl Phillips's invaluable essays on poetry, the tenth volume in the celebrated Art of
series of books on the craft of writing.
In seven insightful essays, Carl Phillips meditates on the craft of poetry, its capacity for making a space for possibility and inquiry. What does it mean to give shapelessness a form? How can a poem explore both the natural world and the inner world? Phillips demonstrates the restless qualities of the imagination by reading and examining poems by Ashbery, Bogan, Frost, Niedecker, Shakespeare, and others, and by considering other art forms, such as photography and the blues. The Art of Daring is a lyrical, persuasive argument for the many ways that writing and living are acts of risk. “I think its largely the conundrum of being human that makes us keep making,” Phillips writes. “I think it has something to do with revision — how, not only is the world in constant revision, but each of us is, as well.”
"Literature meets life in poet Phillips's accessible contribution to Graywolf's The Art of series. Phillips (Silverchest) offers seven essays on the craft and meaning of poetry to determine his approach to the theme of 'restlessness.' The poetic sensibility itself is characterized by restlessness a 'daring' aspiration toward fuller meaning, feeling, and vision. Poetry, then, is the record of the poet's arrival at this fuller though never definitive comprehension of life. The author is concerned with the relation between restlessness and constraint, both on and off the page. He presents a daring analogy of the constraints of poetic form to the constraints of the erotic life (monogamy and, more literally, bondage paraphernalia). Thus, one sexually frank anecdote illustrates the moral 'constraints that... served as coordinates' for meaning, existing in dynamic tension with sexual restlessness and inspiring one of Phillips's poems, which formally replicates that tension. Abundant autobiographical glimpses lend substance and specificity to Phillips's tenet that 'art and life are forever part of the same thing.' Phillips analyzes individual poems by Shakespeare, Herbert, Shelley, Frost, Gunn, and others, along with his own work. The result is a slim volume memorable for delicate insights, both local and general, and for its vivid grounding of theory in the life and personality of the poet." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"A writer's (and a reader's) manifesto, a testament to the importance of taking risks....So many of [The Art of Darings] points, its arguments, cross the blurry lines of genre to situate themselves at the center of why we read and write.” Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Carl Phillips is the author of a dozen books of poetry, including Silverchest and Double Shadow, and a collection of essays, Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Art and Life of Poetry. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.