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Synopsis: National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
In this stunning volume of epic breadth, Michael Schmidt connects the lives and works of more than 300 poets over the last 700 years--spanning distant shores from Scotland to Australia to the Caribbean, all sharing the English language.
Schmidt reveals how each poet has transformed "a common language of poetry" into the rustic rhythms and elegiac ballads, love sonnets, and experimental postmodern verse that make up our lyrical canon.
A comprehensive guided tour that is lively and always accessible, Lives of the Poets illuminates our most transcendent literary tradition.
Review: Michael Schmidt's Lives of the Poets should engender endless debates. Anytime anyone attempts a project this monumental--nothing less than the entire history of poetry in English, after all!--plenty of people will disagree with how he or she goes about it. Take, for example, the fact that Schmidt crams 500 years of poetry (Richard Rolle of Hampole through Walt Whitman) into the first half of his massive tome, then spreads a mere century and a half (Emily Dickinson to the present) across the rest. And even 900-plus pages isn't enough space to treat every poet equally--indeed, it may be that Schmidt's choices will spark the liveliest disagreements. Then there are his various pronunciamentos on poetry itself--everything from its form to its influences. But no matter what you may think of Schmidt's methods or conclusions, his credentials are above reproach. Editor of PN Review and founder and editorial director of Carcanet Press, he is a man both passionate and knowledgeable about poetry--and poets. While Schmidt does, indeed, provide biographical information about his subjects, it is with their inner lives, their imaginative landscapes, that he is chiefly concerned. Open the book to almost any page or any era, and you'll find detailed analyses of not only the poems themselves but also the times, the culture, and the literary antecedents that affected them. Of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound he writes: "Eliot and Pound rebelled together against what they saw as the misuse of free or unmetered verse." And in discussing Eliot's The Waste Land, he remarks:
In The Waste Land he demanded to be read differently from other poets. He alters our way of reading for good, if we read him properly. The poem does not respond to analysis of its meanings--meanings cannot be detached from the texture of the poetry itself.In addition to giving the analytical part of the reader's brain a good workout, as he parses everyone from Spenser to Ashbery to Walcott, Schmidt offers up plenty of idiosyncratic opinion that will alternately raise hackles or set heads nodding in vigorous agreement. This may not be the most objective treatment of poetry to come down the pike, but it is an invaluable--and deeply entertaining--reference. --Margaret Prior
Title: The Lives of the Poets
Book Condition: New
Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998. Book Condition: Fair. Shows definite wear, and perhaps considerable marking on inside. Bookseller Inventory # GRP86314434
Book Description WandN, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Good. Bookseller Inventory # 1658314
Book Description WandN, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Very Good. Bookseller Inventory # 2322164
Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. This copy shows very minor wear. Bookseller Inventory # G0297840142I4N00
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002605199
Book Description Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Good. **SHIPPED FROM UK** We believe you will be completely satisfied with our quick and reliable service. All orders are dispatched as swiftly as possible! Buy with confidence!. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002322671
Book Description W&N, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Very good in very good clipped dust jacket HB Weidenfeld 1998 1st. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000224353
Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998. Book Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 0297840142-2-4
Book Description Hardback published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988. In very good condition with dustwrapper. This is a heavy book and will incur extra postal and packing charges. [Ref: LC]. Bookseller Inventory # 324263
Book Description Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Bookseller Inventory # S_194705008