How an early modern understanding of place and movement are embedded in a performative theory of literature
How is a garden like a poem? Early modern writers frequently compared the two, and as Jim Ellis shows, the metaphor gained strength with the arrival of a spectacular new art form—the Renaissance pleasure garden—which immersed visitors in a political allegory to be read by their bodies’ movements. The Poem, the Garden, and the World traces the Renaissance-era relationship of place and movement from garden to poetry to a confluence of both. Starting with the Earl of Leicester’s pleasure garden for Queen Elizabeth’s 1575 progress visit, Ellis explores the political function of the entertainment landscape that plunged visitors into a fully realized golden world—a mythical new form to represent the nation. Next, he turns to one of that garden’s visitors: Philip Sidney, who would later contend that literature’s golden worlds work to move us as we move through them, reorienting readers toward a belief in English empire. This idea would later be illustrated by Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queen; as with the pleasure garden, both characters and readers are refashioned as they traverse the poem’s dreamlike space. Exploring the artistic creations of three of the era’s major figures, Ellis argues for a performative understanding of literature, in which readers are transformed as they navigate poetic worlds.
Poetics & Polemics, 1980-2005 brings together in one volume a wide-ranging selection of essays and commentaries by one of the most significant poets, critics, and translators working with American and international poetry today.
Jerome Rothenberg’s work spans a period of over forty years and nearly one hundred books, and though perhaps best known as a poet, his critical and theoretical contributions to the fields of innovative, experimental poetry have become equally important facets of his work. Rothenberg’s earliest critical writings concerned themselves with ethnopoetics and the poetics of performance. In the last twenty years his critical thinking has evolved to encompass more explicitly issues of modernism, postmodernism, and the avant-garde, as well as meditations on the nature of the book and writing. This volume extends and elaborates all of those interests, allowing for the first time a comprehensive glimpse of the full trajectory of his thinking.
In the first section, “Poetics and Polemics,” Rothenberg’s essays address a range of issues with which he’s become closely associated, among them the anthology as a critical and polemical tool; the intersection of poetry with art, performance, and politics, in both contemporary and traditional practice; the poetics of Jewish mysticism as a traditional form of conceptual and language poetry; and the universality of poetic discourse, particularly as seen in tribal poetry or in poetic traditions long separated from the Western literary mainstream. In “A Gallery of Poets” is Rothenberg’s lively explorations of the work of other poets, as they relate to his own work, to avant-garde poetry in general, and to the poetic traditions that concern him the most. Finally, in “Dialogues and Interviews” are Rothenberg’s unbridled meditations and musings on what he calls “the life of poetry” outside the bounds of book and binding, class and category, a dynamic force at the center of all that we call human.
For more than half a century, Chinese-Western comparative literature has been recognized as a formal academic discipline, but critics and scholars in the field have done little to develop a viable, common basis for comparison between these disparate literatures. In this pioneering book, Cecile Chu-chin Sun establishes repetition as the ideal perspective from which to compare the poetry and poetics from these two traditions.
Sun contends that repetition is at the heart of all that defines the lyric as a unique art form and, by closely examining its use in Chinese and Western poetry, she demonstrates howone can identify important points of convergence and divergence. Through a representative sampling of poems from both traditions, she illustrates how the irreducible generic nature of the lyric transcends linguistic and cultural barriers but also reveals the fundamental distinctions between the traditions. Most crucially, she dissects the two radically different conceptualizations of reality—mimesis and xing—that serve as underlying principles for the poetic practices of each tradition.
Skillfully integrating theory and practice, The Poetics of Repetition in English and Chinese Lyric Poetryprovides a much-needed model for future study of Chinese and English poetry as well as lucid, succinct interpretations of individual poems.
Since the time of Blackstone's "Farewell," poetry has been seen as celestial, pastoral, solitary, and mellifluous; law as venerable, social, urban, and cacophonous. This perception has persisted even to the present, with the bourgeoning field of law and literature focusing almost exclusively on fiction and drama. Poetry of the Law, however, reveals the richness of poetry about the law.
Poetry of the Law is the first serious anthology of law-related poetry ever published in the United States. As the editors make clear, though, serious need not imply solemn. Instead, David Kader and Michael Stanford have assembled a surprisingly capacious collection of 100 poems from the 1300s to the present.
Set in courtrooms, lawyers’ offices, law-school classrooms, and judges’ chambers; peopled with attorneys, the imprisoned (both innocent and guilty), judges, jurors, witnesses, and law-enforcement officers; based on real events (think “Scottsboro”) or exploring the complexity of abstract legal ideas; the poems celebrate justice or decry the lack of it, ranging in tone from witty to wry, sad to celebratory, funny to infuriating. Poetry of the Law is destined to become an authoritative source for years to come.
W. H. Auden
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A. E. Housman
X. J. Kennedy
D. H. Lawrence
Edgar Lee Masters
W. S. Merwin
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Sir Walter Raleigh
Mona Van Duyn
William Carlos Williams
from “The Hanging Judge” by Eavan Boland
Come to the country where justice is seen to be done,
Done daily. Come to the country where
Sentence is passed by word of mouth and raw
Boys split like infinitives. Look, here
We hanged our son, our only son
And hang him still and still we call it law.
The Poetry of the Possible challenges the conventional image of modernism as a socially phobic formation, arguing that modernism’s abstractions and difficulties are ways of imagining unrealized powers of collective self-organization. Establishing a conceptual continuum between modernism and contemporary theorists such as Paulo Virno, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Alain Badiou, Joel Nickels rediscovers modernism’s attempts to document the creative potenza of the multitude.
By examining scenes of collective life in works by William Carlos Williams, Wyndham Lewis, Laura Riding, and Wallace Stevens, Nickels resurrects modernism’s obsession with constituent power: the raw, indeterminate capacity for reciprocal counsel that continually constitutes and reconstitutes established political regimes. In doing so, he reminds us that our own attempts to imagine leaderless networks of collective initiative are not so much breaks with modernist forms of knowledge as restagings of some of modernism’s most radical moments of political speculation.
Setting modernism’s individual and collective models of spontaneity in dialogue with theorists of political spontaneity such as Antonio Gramsci, Herbert Marcuse, and Theodor Adorno, Nickels retells the story of modernism as the struggle to represent powers of collective self-organization that lie outside established regimes of political representation.
In Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing eminent Rossetti scholar Lorraine Janzen Kooistra demonstrates the cultural centrality of a neglected artifact: the Victorian illustrated gift book. Turning a critical lens on “drawing-room books” as both material objects and historical events, Kooistra reveals how the gift book’s visual/verbal form mediated “high” and popular art as well as book and periodical publication.
A composite text produced by many makers, the poetic gift book was designed for domestic space and a female audience; its mode of publication marks a significant moment in the history of authorship, reading, and publishing. With rigorous attention to the gift book’s aesthetic and ideological features, Kooistra analyzes the contributions of poets, artists, engravers, publishers, and readers and shows how its material form moved poetry into popular culture. Drawing on archival and periodical research, she offers new readings of Eliza Cook, Adelaide Procter, and Jean Ingelow and shows the transatlantic reach of their verses. Boldly resituating Tennyson’s works within the gift-book economy he dominated, Kooistra demonstrates how the conditions of corporate authorship shaped the production and receptionof the laureate’s verses at the peak of his popularity.
Poetry, Pictures, and Popular Publishing changes the map of poetry’s place—in all its senses—in Victorian everyday life and consumer culture.
Poetry has often been considered an irrational genre, more expressive than logical, more meditative than given to coherent argument. And yet, in each of the four very different poets she considers here, Helen Vendler reveals a style of thinking in operation; although they may prefer different means, she argues, all poets of any value are thinkers.The four poets taken up in this volume—Alexander Pope, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and William Butler Yeats—come from three centuries and three nations, and their styles of thinking are characteristically idiosyncratic. Vendler shows us Pope performing as a satiric miniaturizer, remaking in verse the form of the essay, Whitman writing as a poet of repetitive insistence for whom thinking must be followed by rethinking, Dickinson experimenting with plot to characterize life’s unfolding, and Yeats thinking in images, using montage in lieu of argument.With customary lucidity and spirit, Vendler traces through these poets’ lines to find evidence of thought in lyric, the silent stylistic measures representing changes of mind, the condensed power of poetic thinking. Her work argues against the reduction of poetry to its (frequently well-worn) themes and demonstrates, instead, that there is always in admirable poetry a strenuous process of thinking, evident in an evolving style—however ancient the theme—that is powerful and original.
The Power of Genre was first published in 1986. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The Power of Genre is a radical and systematic rethinking of the relationship between literary genre and critical explanation. Adene Rosmarin shows how traditional theories of genre—whether called "historical," "intrinsic," or "theoretical"—are necessarily undone by their attempts to define genre representationally. Rather, Rosmarin argues, the opening premise of critical argument is always critical purpose or, as E. H. Gombrich has said, function, and the genre or "form" follows the reform. The goal is a relational model that works.
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