Synopses & Reviews
Quick, joyful, and playfully astringent, with surprising comparisons and examples, this collection takes an unconventional approach to the art of poetry. Instead of rules, theories, or recipes, emphasizes ways to learn from great work: studying magnificent, monumentally enduring poems and how they are made-- in terms borrowed from the "singing school" of William Butler Yeats's "Sailing to Byzantium."
"The latest in what has become a Pinsky pedagogical legacy. . . . By paying deep attention to these masters, the poet becomes a poet, through 'the particular work' of listening." Huffington Post
"Sparkling. . . . Pinsky has selected a tremendously fresh and exciting variety of salient poems. . . . This stimulating and creative guide will intrigue and enlighten everyone interested in poetry." Booklist
" is nothing like the usual anthology of safe and sane selections. Instead, it is a gathering of poetry designed to stimulate the young and startle the old practitioner, with a surprise around every corner. . . . A book that will instruct and charm every reader." Alicia Ostriker
"Robert Pinsky is, everyone knows, one of the great poetry teachers of our time. The tone of his discussion always combines patience and delight, and he is especially valuable to us because the knowledge he imparts is systematic—to read one of his explications of a poem is to understand something more about all the poems you'll read from that moment on." Tony Hoagland
"Magnificent . . . poems to inspire [with] brief and brilliant, offhand notes about how to read them."--Alan Cheuse, NPR
Robert Pinsky s headnotes for each of the 80 poems and his brief introductions to each section take a writer s view of specific works: William Carlos Williams s Fine Work with Pitch and Copper for intense verbal music; Emily Dickinson s Because I Could Not Stop for Death for wild imagination in matter-of-fact language; Robert Southwell s The Burning Babe for surrealist aplomb; Wallace Stevens s The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm for subtlety in meter. Included are poems by Aphra Behn, Allen Ginsberg, George Herbert, John Keats, Mina Loy, Thomas Nashe, and many other master poets.
This anthology respects poetry s mysteries in two senses of the word: techniques of craft and strokes of the inexplicable.
About the Author
Robert Pinsky is the author of eight collections of poetry including, most recently, his Selected Poems. His translation The Inferno of Dante won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. His CD PoemJazzAmericans’ Favorite Poems and An Invitation to Poetry, with each poem accompanied by readers’ comments. Pinsky teaches at Boston University.