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Common wisdom has it that when Auden left England for New York in January 1939, he had already written his best poems. He left behind (most critics believe) all the idealisms of the 1930s and all serious concerns to become an unserious poet, a writer of ingenious, agreeable, minor lyrics. Lucy McDiarmid argues that such readers, spoiled by the simple intensities of apocalypse, distort and misjudge Auden's greatest work. She shows that once Auden was freed from the obligation to criticize and reform the society of his native country, he devoted his imaginative energies to commentary on art. And about art he was never complaisant: with greater passion than he had ever used to undermine "bourgeois" society, Auden undermined literature. Every major poem and every essay became a retractio, a statement of art's frivolity, vanity, and guilt. Auden's Apologies for Poetry, then, sets forth the unorthodox notion that the chief subject of later, "New Yorker" Auden is the insignificance of poetry. Commenting on all the major poems and essays from the 1930s through the 1960s, and analyzing manuscript revisions and unpublished works, it charts the changes in Auden's poetics in the light of his shift from an oral to a written model of poetry. In his earliest work Auden voices the tentative hope that poems can be like loving spoken words, transforming and redeeming, themselves carriers of value. After 1939 he takes for granted a written model. His later essays and poems deny art spiritual value, claiming that "love, or truth in any serious sense" is a "reticence," the unarticulated worth that exists--if at all--outside the words on the page. Later Auden creates a poetics of apology and self-deprecation, a radical undermining of poetry itself.
Originally published in 1990.
The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize
In his second collection of poetry, Reginald Harris traverses real and imagined landscapes, searching for answers to the question “What are you?” From Baltimore to Havana, Atlantic City to Alabama—and from the broad memories of childhood to the very specific moment of Marvin Gaye singing at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game shortly before his death—this is a travel diary of internal and external journeys exploring issues of race and sexuality. The poet traveler falls into and out of love and lust, sometimes coupled, sometimes alone. Autogeography tracks how who you are changes depending on where you are; how where you are and where you’ve been determine who you are and where you might be headed.
Brian Swann’s Autumn Road consists of three interrelated parts: “ghosts/on paper, anonymous, ambiguous, festive—,” from the viewpoint of someone “similar to/who I am, but not me.” There should be no “mistaking flashes” for “heliography.” This poem, “Heliography” and another in Part I, “The Lost Boy,” is set during and after World War II in Northumberland, England, a world of farm, coal mine, family, and relatives. Later, in adolescence, the scene moves to the fen country of East Anglia and focuses on a difficult father and a violent world. Part II centers on “Ars Amatoria” in its various manifestations: marriage, the family and children. Part III, Eschatology,” looks back but also forward. It moves through middle age to “Three Score and Then Some.” What it sees is “the River Jordan spreading across night sands,” friends and family no longer here. It ends with the title poem, set in New York’s western Catskill Mountains: “I look for ecstatic image/here below where the year is dying fiercely.”
Donato Francesco Mattera has been celebrated as a journalist, editor, writer and poet. He is also acknowledged as one of the foremost activists in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and helped to found both the Union of Black Journalists, the African Writer's Association and the Congress of South African Writers. Born in 1935 in Western Native Township (now Westbury) across the road from Sophiatown, Mattera can lay claim to an intriguingly diverse lineage: his paternal grandfather was Italian, and he has Tswana, Khoi-Khoi and Xhosa blood in his veins.
"Gaylord Brewer’s Barbaric Mercies is a book of extraordinary and delightful individuality. Alternately aggressive, outrageous, whimsical, and heartfelt, the poems are never predictable but always authentic. The author has such a genius for phrasing that there are many lines that make the reader stop and sigh or smile. A dark and delicious volume." —Dana Gioia
Karin Schimke is a widely published journalist and columnist, and the Cape Times books editor. She also works as a writing tutor and mentor, an author of non-fiction ñ including the best-selling Fabulously Forty and Beyond, co-written with Margie Orford - of childrenís books and of short stories. She edited Open, an anthology of erotic short stories written by some of South Africaís best known women writers. Her poetry has appeared in South Africa Writing, New Contrast, New Coin and Carapace magazines. Bare & Breaking is her first collection of poems.
Ira Sadoffs new volume of poems opens with a quotation from Rilke: But because truly being here is so much; because everything here / apparently needs us, the fleeting world, which in some strange way / keeps calling us. . . .? The poetry collected here is a response to this call. _x000B_Rooted firmly in the fleeting world,? Sadoffs poems find epiphanies of meaning in unexpected and even unpleasant experiences and emotions. The poems in Barter delve deeply into the past, the personal past of regret, travel, love, divorce, and bereavement, as well as the global past of Beethoven, Vietnam, and the fall of communism. Each poem is offered up by Sadoff as a barter, something to be traded for a little more time, a little more understanding._x000B_The poems in Barter comment on the power of culture to interject itself into our desire for an idealized self, the way our inner and outer lives lack correspondence, harmony, and integration. They also talk about commerce, the trading of bodies, the way we as a nation use? and exchange and appropriate -- and like Tolstoys Ivan Ilyich, try to bargain with and evade the urgency of our time on earth._x000B_In the poem Self-Portrait with a Critic,? Sadoff makes what could be a succinct statement of purpose: And inside, lets not make it pretty, / lets save the off-rhyme and onomatopoeia / / for the concert hall, lets go to the wormy place / where the problematic stirs inside his head.?_x000B_
Ashuntantang is an extraordinary weaver of words who showcases vivid pictures that compete with 3D simulation. Her greatest asset is her use of the beautiful traditional Cameroonian anchor that evokes folk tales with its moonlight romance and glory. You feel, laugh, weep, shiver, wonder, and hail the triumphant spirit of the persona as it navigates African postcolonial and global experiences with the melancholy of an exile who is purposeful, strategic, and a lot of fun.
Bold, original and stimulating in its inspirational insights, A Basket of Kola Nuts explores Cameroonís cultures as remarkable pivots of moral rectitude and such sickening vicious-circles as bribery and corruption. Ethnically grass-rooted and globalizing rather than alarmingly exotic and exclusive, this poetic diction of form-content aims at revitalizing its material contents to sever it from extinction and revamp cultural values that break the patience of silence to question deviation rather than the concrete interface of cultural identities and differences. Uprightly appealing, this poetry gathers kola seeds that fall apart in crisis to invite readers world-wide to taste its kolaly aroma.