Guilty Knowledge, Guilty Pleasure: The Dirty Art of Poetry

Hardcover | April 8, 2014

byWilliam Logan

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William Logan has been a thorn in the side of American poetry for more than three decades. Though he has been called the "most hated man in American poetry," his witty and articulate reviews have reminded us how muscular good reviewing can be. These new essays and reviews take poetry at its word, often finding in its hardest cases the greatest reasons for hope. Logan begins with a devastating polemic against the wish to have critics announce their aesthetics every time they begin a review. "The Unbearable Rightness of Criticism" is a plea to read those critics who got it wrong when they reviewed Lyrical Ballads or Leaves of Grass or The Waste Land. Sometimes, he argues, such critics saw exactly what these books were-they saw the poems plain yet often did not see that they were poems. In such wrongheaded criticism, readers can recover the ground broken by such groundbreaking books.

Logan looks again at the poetry of Wallace Stevens, Frank O'Hara, and Philip Larkin; at the letters of T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Lowell; and at new books by Louise Glück and Seamus Heaney. Always eager to overturn settled judgments, Logan argues that World War II poets were in the end better than the much-lauded poets of World War I. He revisits the secretly revised edition of Robert Frost's notebooks, showing that the terrible errors ruining the first edition still exist. The most remarkable essay is "Elizabeth Bishop at Summer Camp," which prints for the first time her early adolescent verse along with the intimate letters written to the first girl she loved.

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From the Publisher

William Logan has been a thorn in the side of American poetry for more than three decades. Though he has been called the "most hated man in American poetry," his witty and articulate reviews have reminded us how muscular good reviewing can be. These new essays and reviews take poetry at its word, often finding in its hardest cases the...

William Logan is the author of ten volumes of poetry and five books of essays and reviews, including The Undiscovered Country, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. Among his other honors are the Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle, the Corrington Medal for Literary Excel...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:344 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:April 8, 2014Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231166869

ISBN - 13:9780231166867

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsAgainst AestheticsThe Unbearable Rightness of CriticismVerse Chronicle: Shock and AweVerse Chronicle: You Betcha!The Sovereign Ghost of Wallace StevensEliot in InkLarkin's ToadsVerse Chronicle: From Stinko to DevoVerse Chronicle: Trampling Out the VintageFrost's Notebooks: A Disaster RevisitedHeaney's ChainHeaney's GhostsVerse Chronicle: Weird ScienceVerse Chronicle: Blah Blah BlahWorld War II Poetry, ReloadedFrank O'Hara's Shopping BagThe Village of Louise GlückVerse Chronicle: Civil WarsVerse Chronicle: Guys and DoveNobody's Perfect: The Letters of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert LowellElizabeth Bishop at the New YorkerElizabeth Bishop at Summer CampA Critic's NotebookA List of Don'tsPermissionsBooks Under ReviewIndex of Authors Reviewed

Editorial Reviews

The "guilty pleasure" of reading these reviews is how well they are written, and how funny they often are.