The Fire in All Things: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets)

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9780807118276: The Fire in All Things: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets)
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Selected by Richard Howard from almost one thousand entries, Stephen Yenser's The Fire in All Things is the most recent recipient of the Walt Whitman Award, given annually by The Academy of American Poets to honor an outstanding collection of verse by an American poet who has not previously published a book-length collection. The poems in The Fire in All Things are as intricate as vines that intertwine and twist around the trunk of a tree; yet high though the poems climb, each has its roots in the natural world, and in the heart. Ruins, architectural and emotional, fill these poems even as the language restores itself in puns, internal rhymes, and slant rhymes. The Fire in All Things reveals a poet of mature talent - shrewdly observant of the world around him, possessed of a keen wit and a formidable command of the language.

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About the Author:

Stephen Yenser, whose poems have appeared in the Partisan Review, the Nation, the New Yorker, the Yale Review, and other magazines, has been the recipient of two Fulbright teaching fellowships and a Discovery/Nation Poetry Award. A native of Wichita, he is professor of English at the University of California at Los Angeles and the author of The Consuming Myth: The Work of James Merill and Circle to Circle: The Poetry of Robert Lowell.

From Publishers Weekly:

For all of its erudition--Greek dedications, Latin mottos, French phrases--this winner of the 1992 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets (judged by Richard Howard) is essentially a debut collection of effete confessional poetry replete with descriptions of prettified botany including mistletoe, bougainvillea and wisteria. Characteristically, the speaker addresses an anonymous "You," dropping hints about the life they lead together, usually in exotic or foreign surroundings, while retaining a coquettish stance that excludes the reader. The verse is structured with exaggerated irony and tortuous syntax ("Hornblasts! They jarred us from the engines' snore / And cheesy air of what the door sign called / The 'Dinning Room' to spraydrift, sidechurn. . . "). Yenser often employs enjambment from line to line or stanza to stanza, with a mannered effect ("Yet, how to pluck, to be plucked like the harp / the rain has hanged upon the willow / Before it learns the plot to break. . . "). In the end, the poems seem out of date (characters wire news to one another and speak in witty archaisms), and the painstaking attention to the details of picturesque setting creates a self-consciously ornamental work.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780807118283: The Fire in All Things: Poems (Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets)

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ISBN 10:  0807118281 ISBN 13:  9780807118283
Publisher: LSU Press, 1993
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