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A Difficult Grace: On Poets, Poetry, and Writing Paperback – October 25, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


A Difficult Grace presents a challenging, considered definition of the art, discriminates among poems and poets, and indicates poetry's place in the human spirit and in society. Ryan's bold, essayistic manner draws on a scholarly knowledge of literary history and of formal matters. . . . The book is well written in a way that expresses conviction as well as knowledge. In its depth and excellence, this crisp, passionate, and learned book is a significant contribution by an important American poet.

(Robert Pinsky)

With articulate scrutiny, Ryan reaffirms the necessary connections of ‘tradition and the individual talent,’ the timelessness of great art, and a notion of poetry as both ‘communal enterprise’ and intensely personal vocation. This is an important, galvanizing book for students of poetry, for novitiates of writing, and for contemporary poets at the millennium.

(Ellen Bryant Voigt)

About the Author

Michael Ryan is the author of three poetry collections, including "In Winter" and "God Hunger," and of the memoir "Secret Life." His work has been honored by the Lenore Marshall Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among many other awards. Ryan is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of California, Irvine.

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