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The Sighted Singer: Two Works on Poetry for Readers and Writers Paperback – December 1, 1991
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In the ideal writing program where criticism and creative writing imply, sustain, and nourish one another, Allen Grossman's ' Summa Lyrica' would be required reading.(Alan Shapiro)
From the Back Cover
"The Sighted Singer: Two Works on Poetry for Readers and Writers" makes available a revised and significantly expanded version of "Against Our Vanishing" and includes Grossman's recent treatise "Summa Lyrica: A Primer of the Commonplaces in the Speculative Poetics". This combined edition provides a sophisticated yet accessible discussion-- across generations-- of "the fundamental discourse of poetic structure". For students and teachers, for writers and readers, "The Sighted Singer" is a splendid introduction to both the tradition of poetry and its contemporary practice.
Top Customer Reviews
Allen Grossman is a "canoneer" - an acolyte of the belief in a teleological structure as a basis for the validity of conferring the labels "good", or "bad", on a poem. He expresses and defends a process involving careful study, over a long period, of poems, and the poets who are currently considered to be the "Greats" of poetry. That study, according to Grossman enables a reader to grasp the elusive paradigm of the making of the "Greats", a definition of and conflation of "Truth" and "Good" and "Beauty".
Mark Halliday's is a "deontological" approach to the evaluation of a poem, and poetic practice. His belief in the validity of a reader's response to a poem as paramount, is articulate, responsive and expertly contrasted to that of Grossman's structured position. Halliday is, like Grossman, positive and informed of the history and academic practice of poetry. He looks to the individual, the nature of the individual's emotional response to a poem as the source of "Worth" of a poem. He eschews the notions of "Great", "Success", or the canonization of dead, white, males.
Poetically, we are at a dinner party with Aristotle and Plato, or rather their heirs, Grossman and Halliday. This book is an enormously fun read, written with a "John McPhee" clarity, helpful for poets, philosophers, and artists who would grasp the meaning of tradition, and the making of tradition, and how it has been bred into our bones.