Synopses & Reviews
Poet's Prose is the first scholarly work devoted exclusively to American prose poetry and has been recognized as a groundbreaking study in contemporary American poetry. Many recent American poets have been writing prose; Fredman has set out to determine why and what it means. Three central works of American poets' prose are discussed in detail: William Carlos Williams' Kora in Hell, Robert Creeley's Presences, and John Ashbery's Three Poems. In these chapters, Fredman both carefully teaches us how to read these difficult works and examines their philosophical seriousness. In a final chapter and a new epilogue, he discusses the newest trends in contemporary poetry, the "talk poems" of David Antin and the prose of the Language poets, in which poet's prose forms an important aspect of the "theoretical poetry" now being written.
"Fredman's skillful and often elegant reading is very much in the service of his efforts to define the complicated and 'drastic' turn to prose by certain American poets..." Contemporary Literature"...an important book for anyone interested in American poetry and poetics. Its mixture of theoretical and practical criticism reflects the interplay of theory and practice in the poets Fredman treats. I found it refreshing to read a criticism engaged with theory and yet so responsive to the particulars of specific writers and specific works....the chapter on Ashbery is also one of the best pieces of criticism in the book....Poet's Prose is a valuable book, not only for the discussions of the writers Fredman treats, but also for the way the book's larger considerations illuminate the work even of writers he doesn't treat." Patricia Wallace, North Dakota Quarterly
The author of this work sets out to determine why so many recent American poets have been writing prose, and what it means, discussing in detail William Carlos Williams' "Kora in Hell", Robert Creeley's "Presences" and John Ashbery's "Three Poems".
Includes bibliographical references (p. 162-189) and index.
Table of Contents
Preface to the second edition; Preface to the first edition; List of abbreviations; Introduction; 1. The generative sentence: William Carlos Williams's Kora in Hell: Improvisations; 2. 'A life tracking itself': Robert Creeley's Presences: A Test for Marisol; 3. 'He chose to include': John Ashbery's Three Poems; 4. The crisis at present: talk poems and the new poet's prose; Notes; Index.