Oblivion: On Writers & Writing

Justice, Donald

Published by Story Line Press, 1998
ISBN 10: 188526660X / ISBN 13: 9781885266606
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Synopsis: In OBLIVION, Donald Justice focuses his critical attention on 20th century literary matters. Engaging the battles of present trends and obsessions, he subtly explores the nature of obscurity, sincerity, style, memory, meter, free-verse, and music. OBLIVION closes with generous excerpts from Justice's own notebooks, providing a rare glimpse into the creative process of a writer whom many critics consider a central conscience of the late 20th century.

From Publishers Weekly: The recipient of several major awards (Bollingen, Pulitzer) and fellowships (Lannon etc.), poet Justice is highly regarded for his mastery of formal verse and as a mentor to younger poets. Much of the pleasure of these essays, dating from 1954 to the late 1990s, lies in their illumination of small but just truths that refuse to take anything for granted. His observations are often surprising but apt, as when he notes that "the music of music and the music of poetry are entirely different.... [T]he music of poetry must be understood as no more than a metaphor struck off in the heat of wishful thought." His chief concern is not so much what poems mean as how they are made. Justice knows that poetry is artifice: poems do not spring into being through magic but are constructed through hard, loving effort. In the title essay he emphasizes that dedication to art does not necessarily bring public success or private satisfaction; he writes touchingly about Weldon Kees, Henri Coulette and Robert Boardman Vaughn, three poets whose careers and reputations fell into oblivion but whom Justice regards as "true artists nonetheless." The degrees of oblivion, he writes, to which certain writers "have been consigned are no more proportionate to the real value of their work than the fame of some others is to the value of theirs." Some of the writing feels random and occasional; not all of these pieces are as fully fleshed out as one might wish. That said, it is valuable to have the mature judgments of this poet's poet.
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Title: Oblivion: On Writers & Writing
Publisher: Story Line Press
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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Book Description Story Line Press:, 1998. Soft Cover. Book Condition: Fine-. 135 pages. "Donald Justice's work has received acclaim from nearly all of his fellow poets and peers. This book of critical prose- only the second by this Pulitizer Prize-winner- collects 14 essays which examine such diverse topics as obscurity, sincerity, memory meter and free verse." FINE- SOFTCOVER. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 028699

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