Examining poetry by Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, and Amiri Baraka, among others, this book shows that leading US poets since 1979 have performed the role of public intellectual through their poetic rhetoric. Gwiazda's argument aims to revitalize the role of poetry and its social value within an era of global politics.
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Piotr K. Gwiazda is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA. He is the author of James Merrill and W.H. Auden (2007) and has also published two books of poetry, Gagarin Street (2005) and Messages (2012).Review:
"Gwiazda has accomplished something remarkable in U.S. Poetry and the Age of Empire, 1979-2012: he has taken a period often seen as the triumph of 'language centered' poetics, and redefined it as the age of civic poetry. Tackling a range of poets from across the stylistic spectrum, he shows us the many roles poets play - as witnesses, judges, definers of national identity, seekers of moral community - when they reclaim poetry's place in the sphere of the public intellectuals. And when Gwiazda takes issue with my own writing I tend to agree with him." - Robert Archambeau, Professor of English, Lake Forest College, USA and author of The Poet Resigns: Poetry in a Difficult World
"With admirable precision and care, Gwiazda tracks a shift over the past few decades from skepticism toward a Cold War-era fiction of the United States as a bringer of peace, freedom, and democracy to a cautious critique of twenty-first-century America's 'preemptive' wars and global promotion of an unjust economic order. One comes away from US Poetry in the Age of Empire, 1979-2012 with a renewed appreciation for poetry's ability to speak 'with' others and to articulate the hopes and frustrations of American citizens troubled by the path their country has taken in the decades since the Vietnam War." - Brian Reed, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Washington, USA and author of Nobody's Business: Twenty-First Century Avant-Garde Poetics
"This book is a strong piece of critical scholarship with immediate applications in both the classroom and the wider discussion of poetics. Gwiazda argues for the continued relevancy of American poetry to political discourse, even if that relevance or influence is not direct or the consequence of a large readership. Gwiazda's work is theoretically well-grounded in the political philosophy of Michael Hardt, wide-ranging and open in its considerations of competing poetic claims, and well-informed about the current situation of poetry. " - Leonard Schwartz, Professor of Literary Arts, The Evergreen State College, USA and author of The Tower of Diverse Shores and Language As Responsibility
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