Against Coercion: Games Poets Play by Eleanor Cook

Against Coercion: Games Poets Play

byEleanor Cook

Hardcover | April 1, 1998

not yet rated|write a review

Pricing and Purchase Info

$68.50 online 
$70.00 list price
Earn 343 plum® points

Out of stock online

Not available in stores

about

"The inertia of language," declares Geoffrey Hill, is also "the coercive force of language." Good poets write against coercion, and Against Coercion is essentially about the power of words. Looking at our most highly organized form of words, poems, and how they work, it observes how that work speaks-always indirectly-to historical, ethical, and aesthetic questions, including matters of culture, identity, and feminism. It also demonstrates how to read poetry-how to go beyond an elementary (and usually boring) approach, thereby recovering the sheer pleasure of good poems and resisting the coercion of language, that power of words to do ill.A study in advanced poetics, Against Coercion pays close attention to the intricate workings of poems, building larger claims on specific evidence and enjoying the praxis of master writers. The focus is on modern poets, from the early moderns (Stevens, Eliot) through to mid-century (Bishop) and recent (Merrill, Hill). Some chapters reach back to Milton, Wordsworth, and Aristophanes, however, while two even widen to encompass prose fiction.The opening section centers on matters of empire, war, and nation. It includes chapters on Eliot, Keynes, and empire, and on Geoffrey Hill and Elizabeth Bishop (with reflections on language and war). The second section moves to questions of culture and the uses of memory, notably in allusion to earlier writers. It examines what our collective memory chooses to retain and to forget. The range of reference here extends from the King James Bible through Milton and Wordsworth to A. R. Ammons.In the third section, poetry is seen at play, offering those happy occasions when work and play become one. Chapters treat the concept of play in Milton (including some feminist questions), the poetics of punning in Stevens and Bishop, riddles both large and small, in Stevens, a proposed typology of riddles, and a newly recovered Graeco-Latin pun in Alice in Wonderland. The final section moves to practical criticism and offers a new theory of ghost rhymes, a new suggestion of a formula in dream literature, a model for reading a poem, using John Hollander's "Owl" as an illustration, and, taking Stevens as an example, a pedagogical argument that emphasizes the importance of logic and thought in poetry.

About The Author

Eleanor Cook is Professor of English at the University of Toronto. She is the author, most recently, of Poetry, Word-Play, and Word-War in Wallace Stevens.
Elizabeth Bishop At Work
Elizabeth Bishop At Work

by Eleanor Cook

$25.14$36.50

In stock online

Available in stores

Browning's Lyrics: An Exploration
Browning's Lyrics: An Exploration

by Eleanor Cook

$29.59$36.95

Available for download

Not available in stores

A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens
A Reader's Guide to Wallace Stevens

by Eleanor Cook

$37.39$46.63

Available for download

Not available in stores

Shop this author

Details & Specs

Title:Against Coercion: Games Poets PlayFormat:HardcoverPublished:April 1, 1998Publisher:Stanford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0804729379

ISBN - 13:9780804729376

Customer Reviews of Against Coercion: Games Poets Play

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

"This brilliantly written work is authentic literary criticism: sharp, perceptive, learned, original, individual, and life-enhancing. The scholarship is both astonishing and in itself a mode of wit; its handling is exquisite. The book establishes Cook as a first-rate critic."-Harold Bloom, Yale University.