Poetry, argues James Longenbach, is its own best enemy. Examining a wide array of poets, from Callimachus to Louise Gluck, he explains that the resistance to poetry is, quite specifically, the wonder of poetry. Poems do convey knowledge, he suggests, but they do so in forms that continually work against their being facile vehicles for its efficient transmission. In fact, this self-resistance is the source of the reader's pleasure: we read poetry not to escape difficulty but to embrace it. Longenbach makes his case through a sustained engagement with the language of poems. Each chapter brings a fresh perspective to a crucial aspect of poetry (line, syntax, figurative language, voice, disjunction), showing that the power of language depends less on meaning than on the way in which it means - on the temporal process we negotiate in the act of reading or writing a poem. A graceful and skilled study, "The Resistance to Poetry" comes at a crucial time - a time when many people are trying to mold and market poetry into something it is not.
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Number of pages: 144
Weight: 212 g
Dimensions: 216 x 181 x 11 mm