The Ocean the Bird and the Scholar

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 067442574X
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
One of our foremost commentators examines the work of a broad range of English, Irish, and American poets. Helen Vendler’s essays, book reviews, and occasional prose from the past two decades, taken together, are an eloquent plea for the centrality—in humanistic study and modern culture—of poetry’s subversive, sustaining, and demanding legacy.

The Ocean the Bird and the Scholar

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674736567
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
A Times Higher Education Book of the Week One of our foremost commentators on poetry examines the work of a broad range of nineteenth- and twentieth-century English, Irish, and American poets. The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar gathers two decades’ worth of Helen Vendler’s essays, book reviews, and occasional prose—including the 2004 Jefferson Lecture—in a single volume. “It’s one of [Vendler’s] finest books, an impressive summation of a long, distinguished career in which she revisits many of the poets she has venerated over a lifetime and written about previously. Reading it, one can feel her happiness in doing what she loves best. There is scarcely a page in the book where there isn’t a fresh insight about a poet or poetry.” —Charles Simic, New York Review of Books “Vendler has done perhaps more than any other living critic to shape—I might almost say ‘create’—our understanding of poetry in English.” —Joel Brouwer, New York Times Book Review “Poems are artifacts and [Vendler] shows us, often thrillingly, how those poems she considers the best specimens are made...A reader feels that she has thoroughly absorbed her subjects and conveys her understanding with candor, clarity, wit.” —John Greening, Times Literary Supplement

Last Looks Last Books

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400834327
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
In Last Looks, Last Books, the eminent critic Helen Vendler examines the ways in which five great modern American poets, writing their final books, try to find a style that does justice to life and death alike. With traditional religious consolations no longer available to them, these poets must invent new ways to express the crisis of death, as well as the paradoxical coexistence of a declining body and an undiminished consciousness. In The Rock, Wallace Stevens writes simultaneous narratives of winter and spring; in Ariel, Sylvia Plath sustains melodrama in cool formality; and in Day by Day, Robert Lowell subtracts from plenitude. In Geography III, Elizabeth Bishop is both caught and freed, while James Merrill, in A Scattering of Salts, creates a series of self-portraits as he dies, representing himself by such things as a Christmas tree, human tissue on a laboratory slide, and the evening/morning star. The solution for one poet will not serve for another; each must invent a bridge from an old style to a new one. Casting a last look at life as they contemplate death, these modern writers enrich the resources of lyric poetry.

Dickinson

Author: Emily Dickinson
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674048679
Format: PDF
Download Now
Vendler turns her illuminating skills as a critic to 150 selected poems of Emily Dickinson. In accompanying commentaries, Vendler offers a deeper acquaintance with Dickinson, and her selection reveals Dickinson's development as a poet.

Our Secret Discipline

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674026957
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
Download Now
Presents an examination of lyric form in the poetry of W. B. Yeats.

The Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 9781860648373
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
The poetry in this collection demonstrates the full range and power of the contemporary American imagination. The verve, freedom and boldness of American English are combined with the harmonies of modern cadence. Here are distillations of 20th-century thought and reflections of changing social realities, scientific and psychoanalytical insights and the strong voices of feminism and black consciousness. Included are works by: Sylvia Plath; John Berryman; Amy Clampitt; Allen Ginsberg; Rita Dove; Robert Lowell; Wallace Stevens; John Ashbery; Adriennce Rich; Robert Hayden; Theodore Roethke; Langston Hughes; and Louise Gluck.

The Odes of John Keats

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674630765
Format: PDF
Download Now
Argues that Keat's six odes form a sequence, identifies their major themes, and provides detailed interpretations of the poems' philosophy, mythological references, and lyric structures

Invisible Listeners

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691116181
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
When a poet addresses a living person--whether friend or enemy, lover or sister--we recognize the expression of intimacy. But what impels poets to leap across time and space to speak to invisible listeners, seeking an ideal intimacy--George Herbert with God, Walt Whitman with a reader in the future, John Ashbery with the Renaissance painter Francesco Parmigianino? In Invisible Listeners, Helen Vendler argues that such poets must invent the language that will enact, on the page, an intimacy they lack in life. Through brilliantly insightful and gracefully written readings of these three great poets over three different centuries, Vendler maps out their relationships with their chosen listeners. For his part, Herbert revises the usual "vertical" address to God in favor of a "horizontal" one-addressing God as a friend. Whitman hovers in a sometimes erotic, sometimes quasi-religious language in conceiving the democratic camerado, who will, following Whitman's example, find his true self. And yet the camerado will be replaced, in Whitman's verse, by the ultimate invisible listener, Death. Ashbery, seeking a fellow artist who believes that art always distorts what it represents, finds he must travel to the remote past. In tones both tender and skeptical he addresses Parmigianino, whose extraordinary self-portrait in a convex mirror furnishes the poet with both a theory and a precedent for his own inventions. By creating the forms and speech of ideal intimacy, these poets set forth the possibility of a more complete and satisfactory human interchange--an ethics of relation that is uncoerced, understanding, and free.

Poets Thinking

Author: Helen Vendler
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044622
Format: PDF, ePub
Download Now
Poetry has often been considered an irrational genre, more expressive than logical, more meditative than given to coherent argument. And yet, in each of the four very different poets she considers here, Helen Vendler reveals a style of thinking in operation; although they may prefer different means, she argues, all poets of any value are thinkers. The four poets taken up in this volume--Alexander Pope, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and William Butler Yeats--come from three centuries and three nations, and their styles of thinking are characteristically idiosyncratic. Vendler shows us Pope performing as a satiric miniaturizer, remaking in verse the form of the essay, Whitman writing as a poet of repetitive insistence for whom thinking must be followed by rethinking, Dickinson experimenting with plot to characterize life's unfolding, and Yeats thinking in images, using montage in lieu of argument. With customary lucidity and spirit, Vendler traces through these poets' lines to find evidence of thought in lyric, the silent stylistic measures representing changes of mind, the condensed power of poetic thinking. Her work argues against the reduction of poetry to its (frequently well-worn) themes and demonstrates, instead, that there is always in admirable poetry a strenuous process of thinking, evident in an evolving style--however ancient the theme--that is powerful and original.

Rocket and Lightship Essays on Literature and Ideas

Author: Adam Kirsch
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393243478
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
A collection of essays from a “great poet-critic-intellectual” (Daily Beast). Adam Kirsch has been described as "elegant and astute…[a] critic of the very first order" (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times). In these brilliant, wide-ranging essays, published over the last eight years in the New Republic, The New Yorker, and elsewhere, Kirsch shows how literature can illuminate questions of meaning, ethics, and politics, and how those questions shape the way we take pleasure in art. In Rocket and Lightship he examines the work and life of writers past and present, from intellectuals Susan Sontag, Hannah Arendt, and Walter Benjamin to novelists including E. M. Forster, David Foster Wallace, and Zadie Smith. Kirsch quotes G. M. Hopkins: "Nor rescue, only rocket and lightship, shone." So shines literature, in these unflinchingly bold and provocative essays—as an illuminating, regenerative, and immortalizing force.