Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Introduction: Poetry in a Time of Uncertainty and Plenitude

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pp. 9-18

We live in an age of plenitude, an age of muchness, the muchness age, and that means poetry, too. But some people who love poetry love also to bewail its tiny status, its lack of money and fame, its permanent position in America's backseat, rumble seat, potty chair; poetry seems all but obliterated in our culture, seems mummified and...

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John Ashbery: The Poetics of Uncertainty

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pp. 19-49

John Ashbery brings out the best and the worst in people who care about contemporary American poetry. The best is exemplified by the reception he has gotten throughout the years from the officialdom of poetry: so many awards, so much honor, such a...

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Stephen Dobyns: The Uncertainties of Narrative

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pp. 50-85

When he decided sometime before 1982 to write a series of poems based on the enigmatic paintings of the twentieth-century French artist Balthus Stephen Dobyns began a fertile investigation into the nature of poetry as an art form...

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Charles Simic: Poetry in a Time of Madness

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pp. 86-118

Charles Simic's Selected Poems, 1963-1983, first published in 1985 and then again in 1990 in a "Revised and Expanded" form, is unusual, not just because of this publishing history, and not just because it did not win a Pulitzer Prize..

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Gerald Stern: Weeping and Wailing and Singing for Joy

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pp. 119-144

Though born in 1925, Gerald Stern did not publish his first book until the age of forty-six, in 1971. Not many readers noticed either that volume,Pineys, or Rejoicing: Poems, 1966-1972 (1973), and probably for an excellent reason:..

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Charles Wright: Resurrecting the Baroque

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pp. 145-182

Loosely speaking, the baroque impulse in contemporary American poetry is recognizable for the same reason the baroque has always been recognizable; its use of a style tending...

Notes

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pp. 183-196

Index

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pp. 197-200