Praises and Dispraises: Poetry and Politics, the 20th Century

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9780670804061: Praises and Dispraises: Poetry and Politics, the 20th Century

Praises & Dispraises is a stirring and provocative assessment of the role of poetry in our time, as technological and totalitarian power increasingly intrudes on daily life. Elucidating the vision of five poets--Yeats, Brecht, Breytenbach, Adrien Rich and Thomas McGrath--Terrence Des Pres shows us how the poetic will to curse and confront, to summon and bless, renews our clarity and self-possession.

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From Publishers Weekly:

For Des Pres the poem is a small act of healing that makes us aware of our condition and our optionsin that sense, all modern poetry is political. In this brilliant and illuminating study, completed shortly before his death in 1987, the author ( The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps ) looks at five poets for whom politics looms large. Yeats, self-appointed Irish bard, and Brecht, exposer of Nazi evil, both believed in the poet's visionary power to transform the world. In the outspoken verses of Breyten Breytenbach, exiled South African poet, official versions of reality are dismantled. Thomas McGrath's Whitmanesque stanzas affirm that each of us lives a political as well as a private life, whether or not we acknowledge this dimension. Feminist oracle Adrienne Rich extends politics to encompass a fierce attention to relationships of all kinds. Des Pres's fresh readings are inspirational.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

In our nuclear age, should poetry confront or evade political issues? According to Des Pres, it is precisely poetry, with its life-sustaining power, that can save us from the crush of external events. Author of The Survivors: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (1976), Des Pres locates that vital connection between poetry and action in the bardic tradition that allowed poets to summon their tribe, to curse and to praise, and finally to arouse to political revolt. He further demonstrates that the tradition continues in works by Yeats in Ireland, Brecht in Germany, Breytenbach in South Africa, and Adrienne Rich and Thomas McGrath in America. Recommended for both academic and public libraries. Lisa Mulleneaux, Iowa City
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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