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Interview with a Ghost: Essays Paperback – March 21, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In dense and formally playful essays, poet Sleigh (Far Side of the Earth) explores how "private life, historical circumstance, and art converge" and "what it means to say 'I' in a poem, in all its psychological, historical, political, and aesthetic ramifications." In his opening essay Sleigh draws on his own experiences of bodily wasting and brushes with death (he has a chronic blood disease) to read between the lines of Plato's Phaedo. Another autobiographical essay reflects on his parents' East Texas drive-in movie theater while analyzing the relationship between technological and poetical thinking; here Sleigh invokes Heidegger, Auden, Lowell and Yeats and recalls memories of his father hooked to a dialysis machine, en route to striking insights into technology, magic and the divine. He traces notions of the self from Anne Bradstreet to Emerson, Whitman and Eliot, noting that "the self in American poetry has usually been dependent on some sponsoring transcendental source." To richly suggestive effect, Sleigh combines child psychologist D.W. Winnicott's ideas about infantile absorption in play and T.S. Eliot's theories of "impersonality" to comment on the act of poetic communication. Sleigh concludes by focusing essays on specific writers and their works, treating among others Frank Bidart, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell and Seamus Heaney. (Apr.)
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About the Author

Tom Sleigh is the author of five poetry collections, including Far Side of the Earth, and a translation of Euripides' Herakles. He teaches in the graduate writing program at New York University and at Dartmouth College. He lives in New York and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; First Edition edition (March 21, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555974406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555974404
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,894,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Interview With A Ghost is not a collection of poetry per se, but rather a collection of essays by poet and teacher Tom Sleigh about the nature of poetry itself, as explored with the belief that "while art and life are separable, they aren't separate." Sleigh's writings include "Proteus as Poet", "Against the Text 'Poetry Makes Nothing Happen'", "To the Star Demons" and much more. Exploring the aesthetic and psychological implications of the poetry of a variety of noted authors, including Anne Bradstreet, Sir Walter Raleigh, Robert Lowell, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, and Frank Bidart. A contemplative tour of thought, Interview With A Ghost is strongly recommended reading for college students and intermediate to advanced poetry scholars.
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