Helen Vendler has become one of our most trusted companions in reading poetry. Among critics today she has an unrivaled ability to show—lucidly and invitingly—just what a poem does. Insight and wit distinguish these essays, in which Vendler elucidates the function of criticism as well as different critical methods and styles. Poets commented on range from Seamus Heaney and Czeslaw Milosz to Silvia Plath, James Merrill, and Amy Clampitt.
Vendler’s is an ample book…and will give us enough to go on digesting and arguing about, approving and resisting, for a long time yet.
The Music of What Happens, with its deft, precise treatment of the configurative strategies of Ashbery, Heaney, Ginsberg, Sexton, and others reminds us why, ultimately, we might put the newspaper down and read a poem instead.
Any criticism that develops so complex a sense of what really good poetry does, and develops it so lovingly, is to be cherished.
Vendler is essential, whether one delights or despairs in her views. More, The Music of What Happens is the essential Vendler.
Polite, decisive, and insightful, Vendler is our most distinguished critic of modern poetry. In this collection she deals with writers as diverse as Donald Davie and A. R. Ammons… It is her own likes and dislikes, tirelessly examined and cross-examined, that give her frequent bursts of critical eloquence the foundation of truth.
- 486 pages
- 6 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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