Classes on Modern Poets and the Art of Poetry
In a comprehensive introduction to Dickey's remarks, Donald J. Greiner evaluates the relevance of the writer's often sharply worded opinions. The volume brings to life class sessions planned and delivered soon after Dickey took up full-time residence at the University of South Carolina, in the triumphal years following his rapid succession of honors. Full of asides, witticisms, and afterthoughts, the sessions suggest not the pontification of a scholar at an academic conference but the confident learning of a practicing poet who happens to enjoy being in the classroom. Clearly setting forth his sense of literary criticism, Dickey repeatedly emphasizes the preeminence of the poet over the critic, the original use of language as a primary criterion for effective poetry, and the centrality of personal reaction to poetry as a measure of its value. Dickey's comments are valuable for their insight into both his own thought processes and those of the poets he reviewed, among them William Butler Yeats, Ezra Pound, Dylan Thomas, A. E. Housman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Frost, Walter de la Mare, and Robert Bridges.
About the Authors
"Classes on Modern Poets and the Art of Poetry offers unique insights into the mind of a literary genius. James Dickey's thoughts on other writers are lively and compelling. Most important, they reveal a great deal about Dickey's own craft. The reader witnesses the extraordinary range of Dickey's reading and his knowledge of poetic techniques. Donald J. Greiner has done a wonderful job editing the volume. The book is an invaluable addition to Dickey scholarship."—Ernest Suarez, The Catholic University of America
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