In the spirit of Blake’s vow of “mental fight,” Grossman contends with challenges to the validity of the poetic imagination, from Adorno’s maxim “No poetry after Auschwitz,” to the claims of religious authority upon truth, and the ultimate challenge posed by the fact of death itself. To these challenges he responds with eloquent and rigorous arguments, drawing on wide resources of learning and his experience as master-poet and teacher. Grossman’s readings of Wordsworth, Hart Crane, Paul Celan, and others focus on poems that interrogate the real or enact the hard bargains that literary representation demands. True-Love is destined to become an essential book wherever poetry and criticism sustain one another.
Allen Grossman is emeritus professor of the humanities at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of eleven books of poems, including, most recently, Descartes’ Loneliness, and three books of criticism.
The Poet's Companion presents brief essays on the elements of poetry, technique, and suggested subjects for writing, each followed by distinctive writing exercises. The ups and downs of writing life—including self-doubt and writer's block—are here, along with tips about getting published and writing in the electronic age. On your own, this book can be your "teacher," while groups, in or out of the classroom, can profit from sharing weekly assignments.
In this inventive and lucid essay, Lerner takes the hatred of poetry as the starting point of his defense of the art. He examines poetry's greatest haters (beginning with Plato's famous claim that an ideal city had no place for poets, who would only corrupt and mislead the young) and both its greatest and worst practitioners, providing inspired close readings of Keats, Dickinson, McGonagall, Whitman, and others. Throughout, he attempts to explain the noble failure at the heart of every truly great and truly horrible poem: the impulse to launch the experience of an individual into a timeless communal existence. In The Hatred of Poetry, Lerner has crafted an entertaining, personal, and entirely original examination of a vocation no less essential for being impossible.