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Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms: 85 Leading Contemporary Poets Select and Comment on Their Poems Paperback – November 15, 1996


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This enjoyable romp through the thoughts of 85 poets is a lark masquerading as a colossus. When writers from John Ashbery to Charles Wright talk about their work, you might expect Deep Thoughts, but it is surprising (and fun) to read how even the most erudite poet can be as uncertain as the next person. Lehman, editor of this second edition (the first was published by Macmillan in 1987), observed in the original preface that the work is intended to be "perfectly emblematic of the poetic process itself"; but a new preface sees the volume merely as "a chance to eavesdrop on poets talking shop." It's a treat to listen to, among others, Frank Bidart ("Forms are the language of desire before desire has found its object"), Maria Flook ("In `Discreet,' I seem to be talking about poetry itself, how I failed in it or how it was lost from me") and John Cage ("Using MESOMAKE, a program made at my request... I chose to have it triggered with the first three words of the text"). With 20 poems--and accompanying commentary--added to those of the first edition, this revised anthology offers a rewarding glimpse of the passion and restraint, the control and the chaos, the artifice and the chance at work in those who practice poetry.

Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"[A] generous and sharp-witted anthology . . . an intriguing and unusually informative glimpse into the creative process."
--Newsday
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press; 2 edition (November 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472066331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472066339
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,582 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By William Krischke VINE VOICE on December 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is really a fun book. The structure of it is original and ingenious; 85 poets print one of their poems, and then write a short essay about the process of writing the poem. More than any book I've ever read about "the poet's journey" or "the process of writing poetry" or anything else, this offers insight into the process of writing and the evolution of a work. And it offers 85 different perspectives. I love this book.
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Format: Paperback
This was a text for an English class, and is one of the text books that I didn't sell back- lots of really great poetry.
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