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Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry Paperback – April 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

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"Baker has established himself as one of our most articulate, eclectic, and probing readers of contemporary poetry." —Stanley Rubin, SUNY-Brockport

From the Inside Flap

Heresy and the Ideal is a powerful collection of essays and essay-reviews which David Baker wrote and published throughout the 1990s. He thoroughly discusses the work of more than fifty contemporary poets, including T. R. Hummer, Miller Williams, Albert Goldbarth, Jane Kenyon, Galway Kinnell, Charles Simic, Ted Kooser, David Wojahn, Alice Fulton, Louise Glück, and Charles Wright. He takes as his models some of the great critical books of the past three decades, especially Richard Howard's masterpiece, Alone with America, and Helen Vendler's Part of Nature, Part of Us, as well as other works by Laurence Lieberman, Majorie Perloff, Carol Muske, and Mary Kinzie. At its center, Heresy and the Ideal is based on Baker's sense of Romantic poetics, especially on how contemporary poets have applied, altered, or rejected certain Romantic principles. He uses the Romantic trope to measure the tension between passion and reason and between the problems of literary transcendence and the obligations of social engagement. The result is a welcome variety of enlightening, practical criticism devoid of exclusionary jargon and based on persistent attention to an individual poem or book of poems. Utilizing the essay-review, Baker considers each poet's purposes and achievements. He blends the strategies of explanation, analysis, and evaluation, clarifying each poet's work instead of complaining or condemning. Heresy and the Ideal addresses a wide and diverse range of contemporary poetry and should take a deserved place both as a critical introduction to the work of many important poets and as a work that documents and explores the shape of poetry at the end of the millennium.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arkansas Press (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557286035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557286031
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,570,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the best book of criticism I have read in a long time. Baker writes in an intelligent voice, but accessible voice, about other poets and their works. What you will learn from this book is how to think critically about poetry and if you are a poet, how to think critically about your own poetry. He doesn't hold back with his praise or criticism and when poems/books aren't up to snuff, he tells you and gives you some good reasons why. Read it, if you love poetry and love an intelligent mind and eloquent voice (and if you're tired of stodgy overly intellectualized criticism).
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Format: Paperback
I enjoy David Baker's newest book of poetry because it brings the natural world to life. So often in nature, contemporary authors have a difficult time conveying their feelings to others about what they have seen or felt whether they are outside or on the farm. Baker shows us what actually goes on in the world around us. Not just what we see through our eyes. He brings us the smells, the sensations on the backs of our necks, and the feelings we get when the horses are the only ones who we can talk to. Get it! Read it!
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Heresy and the Ideal: On Contemporary Poetry
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