Vise And Shadow: Essays On The Lyric Imagination, Poetry, Art, And Culture

Paperback | May 6, 2015

byPeter Balakian

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Peter Balakian is a renowned poet, scholar, and memoirist; but his work as an essayist often prefigures and illuminates all three. "I think of vise and shadow as two dimensions of the lyric (literary and visual) imagination," he writes in the preface to this collection, which brings together essayistic writings produced over the course of twenty-five years. Vise, "as in grabbing and holding with pressure," but also in the sense of the vise-grip of the imagination, which can yield both clarity and knowledge. Consider the vise-grip of some of the poems of our best lyric poets, how language might be put under pressure "as carbon might be put under pressure to create a diamond." And shadow, the second half of the title: both as noun, "the shaded or darker portion of the picture or view or perspective," "partial illumination and partial darkness"; and as verb, to shadow, "to trail secretly as an inseparable companion" or a "force that follows something with fidelity; to cast a dark light on something—a person, an event, an object, a form in nature."

Vise and Shadow draws into conversation such disparate figures as W. B. Yeats, Hart Crane, Joan Didion, Primo Levi, Robert Rauschenberg, Bob Dylan, Elia Kazan, and Arshile Gorky, revealing how the lyric imagination of these artists grips experience, "shadows history," and "casts its own type of illumination," creating one of the deepest kinds of human knowledge and sober truth. In these elegantly written essays, Balakian offers a fresh way to think about the power of poetry, art, and the lyrical imagination as well as history, trauma, and memory.

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From the Publisher

Peter Balakian is a renowned poet, scholar, and memoirist; but his work as an essayist often prefigures and illuminates all three. "I think of vise and shadow as two dimensions of the lyric (literary and visual) imagination," he writes in the preface to this collection, which brings together essayistic writings produced over the course...

Peter Balakian is the Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor in Humanities and professor of English at Colgate University. He is the author of seven books of poems, most recently Ziggurat and June-tree: New and Selected Poems, 1974–2000. He is also the author of The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a Ne...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 1.1 inPublished:May 6, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022625433X

ISBN - 13:9780226254333

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
1 Poetry as Civilization: Primo Levi and Dante at Auschwitz
2 The Poem as History
3 Ingesting Violence: The Poetry of Witness Problem
4 Theodore Roethke’s Lost Son and the Confessional Era
5 Hart Crane’s Broken Tower
6 Poet from Kars: Yeghishe Charents and Armenia’s Modern Age
7 Collage and Its Discontents
8 Arshile Gorky: From the Armenian Genocide to the Avant- Garde
9 The Anatolian Embrace: Greeks and Armenians in Elia Kazan’s America, America
10 Siamanto’s Bloody News
11 Bob Dylan in Suburbia
12 Writing Horizontal: Notes Toward the Poem as Space
Acknowledgments
Notes

Editorial Reviews

“Few American poets of the boomer generation have explored the interstices of public and personal history as deeply and urgently as has Balakian, and his significance as a poet of social consciousness is complemented by his work in other genres.”