Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology Third Edition Edition

25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0312463199
ISBN-10: 0312463197
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About the Author

HELEN VENDLER, critic and scholar of English-language poetry from the seventeenth century to the present, is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University–the first woman to hold a University Professorship, the highest academic distinction Harvard bestows. She was poetry critic of The New Yorker from 1978-1990, and was a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board from 1990-1999, often serving, before those years, on Pulitzer Prize juries for poetry.  She has written ground-breaking scholarly studies on the work of William Butler Yeats, Wallace Stevens, George Herbert, John Keats, William Shakespeare, and Seamus Heaney, and has received the National Book Critics' Circle Award for Criticism in 1981, as well as the Truman Capote Prize and the Lowell Prize of the MLA.  Her criticism has been collected in several volumes, including Part of Nature, Part of Us, The Music of What Happens, and Soul Says.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's; Third Edition edition (October 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312463197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312463199
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By T. McLaughlin on May 5, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There may be something ominous to potential, non-student readers in the fact that this is a "textbook". What a bizarre thing! "Text" book. How is it different from a book? Well, it's a form of book that is meant to be taken very seriously because it's "required reading" and because it may help you on some standardized test. It may help you be standardized. A textbook about poetry is perhaps an oxymoron. Is there a standardized test that quantifies stirring of the soul or soaring heart?

This is an excellent "book" book on poetry and art in general. In fact, it's one of my favorite books. As soon as I finished it, I started at the beginning again. Except for the proposed questions for discussion or homework, there are very few "textbook" concessions. There is no talking down. It is intelligent and honest from beginning to end.

If you want to understand the basic elements of poetry, how it works, what it does that is different from other arts, there can be no finer work.

Helen Vendler has an extraordinary ability to see clearly the basis of a poem, working back through the words, rhythms, intonations,and references to the pre-verbal experience the poet had that required expression. She has an intuitive intelligence that is oddly contagious. Sensing her remarkable ability to listen, one's own power to listen is enhanced: I too can puzzle back to the heart of this poem and the experience at its core. Our personal experience has a deep commonality.

Finally, of course, it is a book about life. Poetry only exists as a communicative tool for interpreting the precious raw material of life. One says Well, I'm alive so what do I need it for? Well, because we're not alive, we're a little bit alive, brutally familiar with a very small part of life. So this being a book about great poetry addresses the great questions of life itself.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By T. Bellows on February 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
A few quick notes: HV has put together a superb anthology/teaching tool here. She's learned and yet accessible. Includes classics and new poems.

Also includes margin notes defining odd words used by Keats and others.

Full of definitions and examples for poetry terms.

Comprehensive and insightful!!! Great fun to browse through or to

deeply study.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Katherine on October 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Vendler is by far the most exciting and intelligent poetry critic of today. Her understanding of poets, particularly of their mature works, is thorough, thrilling, and refreshingly insightful. Read anything she's written on Robert Lowell, Wallace Stevens, Seamus Heaney, and Czeslaw Milosz and you will find, through her clarity, new reasons to fall in love with these magnificent poets.

I highly recommend two other books by Ms. Vendler: Part of Nature, Part of Us & The Music of What Happens. Though I am no longer a student, I continue to read these books to shreds. She does for poetry what Ms. Ingrid Rowland does for Art History. Experience Ms. Vendler for yourself, and while you're at it, get an online subscription of NYRB and you can read all the articles she's written for this brilliant magazine.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Scanlon VINE VOICE on January 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
no sweat!

This review refers to the 1997 first edition with the bright red ribbon on the cover, instead of the 2002 Second Edition with the purple ribbon. I wish someone could tell us the difference between the two editions, besides price!

This really is a poetry anthology, like for a first or second level English Lit undergraduate course, yet it is so much more for being from Professor Helen Vendler, our most brilliant and discrete and careful critic and teacher of poetry, EVER!

Professor Vendler, who brought into even our baby reach The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets. Professor Vendler, who reveals for us the mysteries, the machinery and the might of Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form. Professor Helen Vendler, of Harvard, who shows us what it is to read Seamus Heaney and why we must, who awakens to us our hunger to seek all that we can. Vendler, who gives back to us our own America in Part of Nature, Part of Us: Modern American Poets.

All that you find of Professor Vendler is gold, and a book for the long journey. Here we have the treasure chest in one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Donald on July 5, 2010
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This is a wonderful book. Vendler is a major academic and student of poetry and adds a voice of clarity and insight to the mysterious art of painting with words. This book demystifies the process of creating poetry so that the reader can fully appreciate what a poet does, revealing the real magic, which is clearly the intent of this book.

Vendler has been accused of being dry because she deconstructs and analyzes so well, but cogent analysis does not rob great art of its power; it only reveals its true genius at deeper levels. Vendler herself is an excellent and engaging academic writer, which makes this well organized book very readable and a useful reference.

A necessary book by a leading authority for anyone who is serious about poetry.
Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology
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