Evaluations of US Poetry since 1950, Volume 1
Language, Form, and Music
Over the last sixty years scholars and critics have focused on literary history and interpretation rather than literary value. When value is addressed, the standards are usually political and identitarian. The essays collected in both volumes of Evaluations of US Poetry since 1950 move away from esoteric literary criticism toward a more evaluative and speculative inquiry that will serve as the basis from which poets will be discussed and taught over the next half-century and beyond. Von Hallberg and Faggen have curated a diverse selection of authors to explore this topic. Volume 1 focuses on voice, language, form, and musicality. Stephen Yenser writes about Elizabeth Bishop, Stephanie Burt about C. D. Wright, Nigel Smith about Paul Simon, and Marjorie Perloff about Charles Bernstein, among others. The essays do not provide an exhaustive survey of recent poetry. Instead, Evaluations of US Poetry since 1950 presents readers with more than thirty different models of literary absorption and advocacy. This is done in explicit hope of reorienting the criticism of poetry.
In Evaluations of US Poetry since 1950, the editors have assigned a group of eminent poetry scholars the old task of defending poetry: they must defend poems they value and the values the poems bear. The result, contrary to the intuition that has led generations of poetry scholars to avoid evaluating the poems they study, is anything but undemocratic. These essays make American poetry a place of celebration (because the poems are truly compelling) as well as contest (because they are so different).'--Aaron Kunin, author of Cold Genius
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