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Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry Paperback – January 23, 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (January 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555974600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555974602
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of 25 essays by seven prominent poet-scholars-incluidng the editors, Stanley Plumly, Linda Gregerson and Carl Phillips-grew out of a panel at the 2000 Associated Writing Programs conference, but the end result is far more engaging and rigorous than such a beginning might suggest. Rather than trying to cover lyric poetry's many hybrid permutations, the editors wisely narrow their focus to three primary "modes"-the elegy, the love poem, and the ode. They then address four further categories, or "lyric means," rooted in core poetic "problems"-those of nature, beauty, people, and time. Approaching their subject from the shared perspective that "lyric poetry is itself a kind of persuasion," and generously quoting from numerous poems along the way, the essayists draw on their respective areas of expertise to discuss what quickly becomes an impressive range of poets, including Sappho, Horace, Petrarch, Donne, Keats, Whitman, Dickinson, Millay, Stevens, Pavese, Bogan, Hass, Salamun and many others. Despite the writers' depth and breadth of knowledge, the essays are eminently readable, foregoing critical theory in favor of a deep engagement with poetics. Though an advanced poetry scholar might not find a lot of profoundly new arguments here, (s)he nonetheless might enjoy the essayists' close readings and carefully drawn connections. Other poetry readers should find the book wonderfully engaging, enlightening, and at times, lyrical.
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About the Author

David Baker is the author of Midwest Eclogue and Heresy and the Ideal: On
Contemporary Poetry
. He is the poetry editor of The Kenyon Review.
Ann Townsend is the author of two collections of poems, The Coronary Garden and Dime Store Erotics.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne on October 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Instead of being the typical critical anthology or book-length study, Radiant Lyre is something of a hybrid anomaly. It gathers seven of the foremost essayists on lyric poetry (David Baker, Richard Jackson, Stanley Plumley, Linda Gregerson, Ann Townsend, Erik Pankey, and Carl Philips) and divides the book into two halves and seven sections with total of 25 essays. The Elegy, The Love Poem, and The Ode belong to the first half, "Lyric Modes"; The Problem of Nature, The Problem of Beauty, and The Problem of People belong to the second half, "Lyric Means".

I must say that I love the divisions in the book, as it helps to highlight the characteristics unique to each subject, while allowing a certain amount of thematic cross-breeding between them. EG, David Baker's opening chapter in The Elegy, "Elegy and Eros, Configuring Grief," shows how eroticism creeps into the elegiac mode, paving the way for the second section, The Love Poem; or, David Baker's opening chapter On the Sublime shows how The Romantics found the sublime in nature, which echoes back to themes covered in On the Pastoral section. Indeed, one of the consistent strengths of this book is in its ability to delineate what makes certain modes and means unique unto themselves, while equally demonstrating how malleable, ubiquitous, and interdependent they are. This is a book where paradoxes trip side-by-side as in the best poetry, so, in one chapter, the author can argue how the individual "I" has come to define the voice of lyric poetry, while in another chapter showing how the I in lyric poetry are shaped by others, either explicitly or implicitly.
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