The Life of the Author
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
In the broadest sense, this book is a celebration of the value of poetry and a defense of poetry for our time. Such a defense is not easy to provide in a cultural moment that tends, simultaneously, to think both too much and (as an inevitable consequence of that) too little of poetry: too much, in that its practice and appreciation have been turned over to the experts, the profes- ...
Chapter 1. The Life of the Author
I read the poets that concern me most in this book both before and while I became a practicing professional myself, over a long period of time. The advantage of this is that I have come to understand in a direct way the ultimately casual and temporary nature of the critical preferences ...
Chapter 2. The Other Side of Thirty
In 1971, my first year out of college, I was trying with little success to find some sort of job I might actually be suited for. Generally discouraged, I suppose, about my overall prospects, I took a couple of graduate classes as a part-time student, hoping they might help me figure out a way to bring my interest in poetry into some consonance with my ...
Chapter 3. World Enough, and Time
For about five or six years, I’ve been using the same format in my course description for freshman writing, with pretty good success. As I explain to the students, my ambition in the course is to introduce them to university-level intellectual work; to me, the two most important ...
Chapter 4. Preaching to the Birds
I did not expect to turn to John Stuart Mill, of all people, as a helpmate in concluding my thinking about the value of poetry. I first encountered his work in the college English class I wrote about earlier: Both Mill’s “Autobiography” (a short excerpt) and “What Is Poetry?” (the first half of his “Thoughts on Poetry and its Varieties”) were included in ...
I realized while I was writing the final chapter—as my own “life of the author” began to emerge through my poems as a subject for inquiry in much the same way as the other poets I am talking about—that my “defense of poetry” is not complete without some sampling of my creative work. The main difficulty is how to do it. I have written poems on and off for forty ...
Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture
Series Editor Byline: David Bartholomae and Jean Ferguson Carr, Editors See more Books in this Series
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