The range of Songs of Degrees extends from the Black Mountain poets Charles Olson and Robert Duncan to such "language poets as Bruce Andres and Susan Howe. Taggart closely examines the work of the objectivist poets George Oppen and Louis Zukofsky. Three essays are devoted to each of these poets, providing detailed readings of individual poems and considerations of each poet's overall achievement. Taggart also concentrates on poets whose work has not been widely recognized or is only now beginning to be recognized. These include Theodore Enslin, Frank Samperi, and William Bronk. Taggart's essay "Reading William Bronk" is the first extensive reading of this relatively unknown but truly outstanding poet.Taggart's essays also focus on his own poetry. He describes the composition process and the thinking behind it, as well as the poet's own evolving sense of what the poem can and ought to be. These very personal reflections are unique in their attention to current questions concerning form and the issue of spiritual vision. Avoiding political and cultural reductionism, Taggart throughout keeps his eye--and heart--on the poetic, singing his own "Songs of Degrees," even as he discovers notes of the same music in the works of other.
Publisher: The University of Alabama Press
Number of pages: 296
Weight: 422 g
Dimensions: 230 x 155 x 21 mm
--Charles Bernstein, State University of New York - Buffalo
"Songs of Degrees is an engaging, powerful collection. Essay after essay is full of well-written, important insights. Taggart offers the most perceptive readings available of two major American poets, George Oppen and Louis Zukofsky, and connects their work to ongoing poetic innovation. This volume represents nearly 20 years of Taggart's impressive thinking about modern poetry."
--Hank Lazer, The University of Alabama
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