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Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue Hardcover – April 8, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (April 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231147325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231147323
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

There is a grain of truth in almost everything [Logan] writes.

(Jordan Davis Times Literary Supplement)

Logan's prose is polished, witty, authoritative, and courageous.... Highly recommended.

(Choice)

The latest installment in William Logan's prolonged and rambunctious assault on the state of American poetry.

(Mark Ford New York Times Book Review)

One of the wittiest and most astute poet-critics of our -- or any -- generation.... A work of devilish wit, arrogance, insight, and intellect.The Dark Horse

(Rory Waterman The Dark Horse 1900-01-00)

Who's the Best Poetry Critic in America? His name I can mention. William Logan.

(James Wolcott)

Arguably the most industrious and notorious poet-critic to brandish that hyphen like a knife between his teeth since his acknowledged master Randall Jarrell.... He often comes off as nothing so much as the Dirty Harry of the poetry beat.

(David Barber, New York Times Book Review)

From the Back Cover

Praise for The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin

"Our wittiest critic of contemporary verse lets loose one lethal shaft after another."-James Marcus, Newsday

"Logan has firmly established himself as the pit bull of mainstream poetry reviewers."-Maureen N. McLane, Chicago Tribune

Praise for Desperate Measures

"When it comes to separating the serious from the fraudulent, the ambitious from the complacent, Logan has consistently shown us what is wheat and what is chaff.... The criticism we remember is neither savage nor mandarin.... There is no one in his generation more likely to write it than William Logan."-Adam Kirsch, Oxford American

Praise for William Logan

"Who's the Best Poetry Critic in America? His name I can mention. William Logan, who must be tired of being compared to Randall Jarrell, but such is one's fate when one writes as wickedly, knowledgeably, and uncompromisingly as he does."-James Wolcott

"Arguably the most industrious and notorious poet-critic to brandish that hyphen like a knife between his teeth since his acknowledged master Randall Jarrell.... He often comes off as nothing so much as the Dirty Harry of the poetry beat."-David Barber, The New York Times Book Review

"William Logan is the best practical critic around."-Christian Wiman, Poetry

"Is there today a more stringent, caring reader of American poetry than William Logan? Reputations of the Tongue may, at moments, read harshly. But this edge is one of deeply considered and concerned authority. A poet-critic engages closely with his masters, with his peers, with those whom he regards as falling short. This collection is an adventure of sensibility."-George Steiner


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James W. Ward on July 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Our Savage Art
William Logan has invigorated poetry criticism. He slashes the hacks and poets who think they are poets but are actually broken prose wordslingers.
I know I was one.The elevation of his criticism has directed me to the more skillful poets- Geoffrey Hill, Auden, Housman, William Logan himself.
Demolished the pretenders Jorie Graham, the confessional poets who write their pathetic lives without an ounce of art. Franz Wright, Mark Doty, Billy Collins goodbye. Hello Larkin, Gjetrud, Schnackenberg, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Frost.
A stunning very welcome book a corrective to contemporary boosterism among the wannabe poets of today.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By a reader in front of the front range on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What better way to engage a literary work and its reader than with one's own literary talent? In this and his other books of criticism, I get the feel of Logan's effort and play with each book he reviews. Don't read him for the widespread reputation as sharp tongued or an adversary to contemporaries. I suggest you go in just for the reading experience. You can fully and passionately disagree with him, wish to clobber him to defend your cherished poet. But it is the literary skills of his essays, the (usually) rigorous exploration of his subjects and the pleasure of his wit that make it worthwhile to read him, regardless of whether you agree.

From many instances of the wit, I offer the following from a review of Kooser: "... he stands for a foursquare, hidebound American provincialism that, by gum, has every right to write poems and, by golly, means to write them too. His poems tend to be short, dying for air, afraid to do more than tell you what happened on the porch, or right out the window, or maybe, just once, down the block." Now, many would think this mean-spirited or just mean. I'd counter that, if mean, there's meaning to it. Rather than simply a dry critique, he employs his own literary chops to engage us, is vulnerable to our judgment of his taste and skill, not in order to abuse his subject but to provoke us to think about the subject from more than just our (sometimes dull) intellect or empathy.

Logan seems to me to adhere to a personal as well as critical integrity. This doesn't mean he's always right. But his opinions aren't derived from or loyal to some academic or literary faction.
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Format: Hardcover
I simply can't get enough of Logan's wonderful, sunlit criticism. Which is ironic, considering that he is supposed to be 'savage'. If you have an interest in the cultural world, the chances are that he will have much among his essays to interest you. Highly recommended.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pip on February 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book had a bit of a warped binding but it is the hardcover I wanted. The book itself is one of the most enjoyable critique of poetry I have ever read.
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