Synopses & Reviews
Marjorie Perloff writes in her preface to Poetics in a New Key
that when she learned David Jonathan Y. Bayot wanted to publish a collection of her interviews and essays, she was at once honored and mystified.” But to Perloffs surprise and her readers delight, the resulting assembly not only presents an accessible and provocative introduction to Perloffs critical thought, but also highlights the wide range of her interests, and the energetic reassessments and new takes that have marked her academic career.
The fourteen interviews in Poetics in a New Keyconducted by scholars, poets, and critics from the United States, Denmark, Norway, France, and Poland, including Charles Bernstein, Hélène Aji, and Peter Nichollscover a broad spectrum of topics in the study of poetry: its nature as a literary genre, its current state, and its relationship to art, politics, language, theory, and technology. Also featured in the collection are three pieces by Perloff herself: an academic memoir, an exploration of poetry pedagogy, and an essay on twenty-first-century intellectuals. But across all the interviews and essays, Perloffs distinctive personality and approach to reading and talking resound, making this new collection an inspiring resource for scholars both of poetry and writing.
"Richard Hugo's free-swinging, go-for-it remarks on poetry and the teaching of poetry are exactly what are needed in classrooms and in the world." James Dickey, author of Deliverance
"Richard Hugo taught me that anyone with a desire to write, and an ear for language, and a bit of imagination could become a writer." James Welch, author of Fools Crow
“A compelling work, enthralling to read and filled with profound insight, provocations, and an awe-inspiring range of engagements and knowledge. Poetics in a New Key is the perfect companion to Perloffs many books, but, more than that, it is an ideal introduction to her thought.”
“Lively, engaging, and energetic. Perloff is the English-speaking worlds preeminent advocate for the poetic avant-garde, and in this book, she vigorously argues for the new and the innovative, and blasts the boring and conventional. Because of her exceptional candor and clarity, because of the depth of her convictions and knowledge, this book has unusual force. She cogently advances her positions, mixing firebrand assertion with robust humor. As an interviewee, she is charmingly aggressive, unflinchingly polemical, and disarmingly frank. Her confidence in her opinions is unwavering. These riveting pages are full of axioms, provocations, and manifesto-like pronouncements. Funny, robust, cantankerous, pointed, and amazingly vivid interviews and essays.”
“Perloff is a superlative speaker and conversationalist; her off-the-cuff comments are powerfully insightful and energizing, and she is superb in a roundtable setting, where she can respond dynamically to others ideas and arguments. Poetics in a New Key will finally give a wider audience access to Perloff as a thinker and critic who excels in these more casual and spontaneous settings. Its interviews make for absorbing, even compulsive reading.”
“This book is a dynamic introduction to the avant-garde of the past 150 years, as well as to Perloff’s work. Bayot’s judicious selections include discussions of manifestos, conceptualism, language and translation, Robert Lowell, poetry and pedagogy, futurism, conflicting traditions, and the practice of criticism. Perloff quotes writers she admires with ease (particularly Ezra Pound, Frank O’Hara, and David Antin). Favourite axioms (‘do not re-tell in mediocre verse what has already been done in good prose’) recur, giving the reader a clear understanding of the thought that has influenced her. The collection reveals Perloff at her best, as she ‘debates the role of various poetic movements and poets, as well as the larger relationship of poetry to culture.’ She is a gifted conversationalist with a remarkable awareness of her lifetime’s work, and a gratifying willingness continually to reassess her own ideas.”
Richard Hugo, whom Carolyn Kizer called "one of the most passionate, energetic and honest poets living," was that rare phenomenon--a distinguished poet who was also an inspiring teacher. is Hugo's classic collection of lectures, essays, and reflections, all "directed toward helping with that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems." From pieces that include "Writing off the Subject" and "How Poets Make a Living," anyone, from the beginning poet to the mature writer to the lover of literature, will benefit greatly from Hugo's playful and profound insights into the mysteries of literary creation.
Richard Hugo was that rare phenomenon of American letters'"a distinguished poet who was also an inspiring teacher. The Triggering Townis Hugo's now-classic collection of lectures, essays, and reflections, all "directed toward helping with that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems." Anyone, from the beginning poet to the mature writer to the lover of literature, will benefit greatly from Hugo's sayd, playful, profound insights and advice concerning the mysteries of literary creation.
"I don't know why we do it. We must be crazy./Welcome, fellow poet."--Richard Hugo
This collection of interviews and essays presents an entertaining and provocative introduction to the critical thought of Marjorie Perloff. The fourteen interviews conducted by accomplished scholars, poets, and critics from the United States, Denmark, Norway, France, and Poland cover many topics: poetrys nature as a literary genre, its current state, and its relation to art, politics, language, theory, and technology. The volume also features three essays by Perloff: an academic memoir, an exploration of poetry pedagogy, and an essay on the (re)constitution of the intellectuals in the 21st century. It will be an inspiring resource for both scholars and poets who care to live a life of attention, on and off the page of poetry.
About the Author
Marjorie Perloff is professor of English emerita at Stanford University and the Florence R. Scott Professor of English Emerita at the University of Southern California. She is the author of many books, including, most recently, Poetics in a New Key and Unoriginal Genius, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
David Jonathan Y. Bayot is associate professor of literature at De La Salle University-Manila, Philippines.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Critic
1 Becoming a Critic: An Academic Memoir
2 A Critic of the Other Tradition
Interview with Hélène Aji and Antoine Cazé
3 Marjorie Perloff On and Off the Page of Poetry
Interview with Kristine Samson and Nikolaj Rønhede
Part II: A Poetics
4 The Alter(ed) Ground of Poetry and Pedagogy
Conversation with Charles Bernstein
5 Mapping the New
Interview with Rain Taxi Review of Books
6 Modernism / Postmodernism? Will the Real Avant-garde Please Stand Up!
Interview with Jeffrey Side
7 (Un)Framing the other Tradition: On Ashbery and Others
Interview with Grzegorz Jankowicz
8 Robert Lowell, Now and Then
Conversation with David Wojahn
9 Futurism and Schism: Close Listening with Marjorie Perloff
Interview with Charles Bernstein
10 The Challenge of Language
Interview with Enrique Mallen
11 Conceptual Writing: A Modernist Issue
Interview with Peter Nicholls
12 Still Making It New: Marjorie Perloff in Manifesto Mode
Interview with Ellef Prestsæter
Part III: To Praxis
13 What is Poetry?
Interview with Fulcrum
14 On Evaluation in Poetry
Dialogue with Robert von Hallberg
15 Teaching Poetry in Translation: The Case for Bilingualism
16 The Internet Moment in the Life of Publishing
Interview with Front Porch Magazine
17 The Intellectual in the 21st Century
David Jonathan Y. Bayot
Index of Names