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The Alphabet (Modern & Contemporary Poetics) Hardcover – September 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern & Contemporary Poetics
  • Hardcover: 952 pages
  • Publisher: University Alabama Press; 1st Edition edition (September 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817316183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817316181
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,277,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ron Silliman's ongoing long poem The Alphabet . . . mingles quotidian observation, linguistic-philosophical reflection, and street-level social critique to produce as vivid, systemic, and cumulatively moving an account of contemporary life as any poet now writing."
Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Ron Silliman is the author or editor of twenty-six books of poetry or criticism, among them The Age of Huts (compleat), Tjanting, ABC, Demo to Ink, Paradise, ®, What, Woundwood, and the memoir Under Albany. He edited the landmark poetry anthology In the American Tree, and he has received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, two Fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, and three arts commission grants from the state arts councils of California and Pennsylvania. His widely read Silliman’s Blog, a daily journal devoted to contemporary poetry and poetics, has become a major force in online literary criticism.


More About the Author

Ron Silliman has written and edited over 30 books, and had his poetry and criticism translated into 12 languages. Silliman was the 2006 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, a 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2002 Fellow of the Pennsylvania Arts Council as well as a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 1998. He received the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation in 2010. Silliman has a plaque in the walk dedicated to poetry in his home town of Berkeley, although he now lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, and works as a market analyst in the computer industry. Check out his weblog at http:\\ronsilliman.blogspot.com\

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Pietro on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've actually read this book, strangely enough. I'm not sure if everyone commenting here has read through it all. Silliman it seems is just putting everything down and frankly wasting paper. In this book is his basic conceit: riding on a bus and taking notes in the form of fragmentted "new sentences" about what he sees. He is a poet influenced by 1980's high-theory to be sure, and perhaps some 1960's beat runoff. He isn't a very good poet, but he has served as a paternal center, in terms of poetic subculture and online-poetry-culture, due mostly to his blog ronsilliman@blogspot.com.

In this massive tome, there is little readerly pleasure to be had. Mostly, it is fragmentary "new sentences" often in the form of declarative. Silliman has theorized this "new sentence" quite extensively in the volume by the same name, which I think I may have reviewed. Being a member of "Language Poetry" Silliman has managed to publish this volume through the help of fellow language poet friends in academia, through the Alabama press series overseen by Charles Bernstein, among others.

I do challenge readers out there, who are interested in poetic technique, strong tropes, socially relevant themes, conceits, prosody, pathos, or any other effect-affect that good poetry elicits, to read through this book without the aura of an alleged counter-poetical mystique that Silliman assumes he possesses. What you will get is a bunch of sentences, informed by false linguistics and outmoded literary theories; as well as some not very interesting observations.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Michaels on October 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow! Mr. Silliman seems to be in the company of Ashbery and Clark Coolidge when it comes to making higher sense out of apparent nonsense. And 900 pages' worth--God's plenty! I am also amazed as to who published this--a university better known for Bear Bryant.

Very highly recommended for anyone who doesn't feel that poetry (or in this case, prose poetry) has to "make sense."
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By todayis on April 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Master work magisterial pretty near perfect tremendous effort glorious brilliant a 21st century stroke of genius entertaining explorative not to be forgotten a fun and uplifting read whizz bang fascinating and a joy to behold
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By richard chiem on March 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Q4: Ron Silliman has written about you before. Can you talk about that experience? What poets / writers have inspired you?
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