A Poetry Criticism Reader
One of the books I picked up in December is A Poetry Criticism Reader edited by Jerry Harp & Jan Weissmiller.
It collects essays writen over the past several years on poetry, by Stephen Burt, Jorie Graham, James Harms (on James Tate), Lyn Hejinian, Mark Jarman, Donald Justice, Dennis O'Driscoll, Helen Vendler, Karen Volkman (on Lorine Niedecker), Joshua Weiner, and Stephen Yenser. It's good to have these essays together. It's quite a lively dinner party.
Two things of note so far:
"If this collection proves successful, we plan to oversee the production of more such volumes. . . . We shall invite a different poet to choose the pieces included in each volume..."
For this reason alone, we should all go out and buy a few copies. What a wonderful project that would be. Will be.
Another thing of note is a short footnote to Stephen Burt's essay, "The Elliptical Poets," that did as much as the rest of his essay to conceptualize what it is he's talking about. Of course, I'm not saying he should have just written the footnote and not the essay . . . it would have been too short that way:
"Thus neither Rosmarie Waldrop nor Michael Palmer, nor Albert Goldbarth, Frank Bidart, Charles Wright--to name some talented older poets who care for epistemology and disjunction--could count as Elliptical; the first two work too far from an "I" in a real world, the other three too unproblematically close."
I'm enjoying it quite a bit.