Synopses & Reviews
A timely and informative collection, A Poetry Criticism Reader brings together eleven essays and reviews that constitute some of the best and most illuminating poetry criticism from the past decade.In his introduction to the book, editor-poet Jerry Harp gives an overview of poetry criticism and its pluralistic traditions after the high modernist years of T. S. Eliot. In the essays that follow, esteemed critics and poets explore varied aspects of poetics, make aesthetic statements, relate to postmodernism with its array of meanings, and examine particular poets and poems. Works by Donald Justice, James Tate, Paul Muldoon, Jorie Graham, Seamus Heaney, and Czeslaw Milosz are among those studied. None of the pieces was written in direct response to any of the others; nonetheless, they complement each other, forming a kind of dialogue. Because editors Jerry Harp and Jan Weissmiller selected writers who give us a broad range of perspectives on our postmodern moment as they reach into history for context, the collection offers students---the next generation of poets and critics---and their teachers exemplary models of fine critical writing and thought.
“In an age when shrewd, well-written, and intellectually stimulating criticism remains in short supply, I welcome this remarkable new collection of essays on poetry. From Donald Justice and Mark Jarman through Jorie Graham, Helen Vendler, and Dennis ODriscoll (among others), A Poetry Criticism Reader has a great deal to offer all readers with a serious interest in what has happened to poetry in the past quarter century. I can think of no better place to begin ones education in the craft of poetry. This is a rich and deeply rewarding anthology, one that extends and modifies that great tradition of criticism that began, in the twentieth century, with T. S. Eliot, whose writing serves as a touchstone throughout this volume.”---Jay Parini
About the Author
Jerry Harp is a visiting assistant professor of English at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon. His books include Creature, Gatherings, and the forthcoming collection Urban Flowers, Concrete Plains. He is a contributing editor of Delmar and regularly reviews poetry for the Iowa Review and Pleiades. Jan Weissmiller has long been on the staff of Prairie Lights Books, where she is the poetry buyer and arranges poetry readings for the “Live from Prairie Lights” series. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, occasionally reviews poetry for the Boston Review, and was awarded the Loess Hills Poetry Award for her collection In Divided Light.