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Tag: poetry

Kimberly Johnson. Made Flesh: Sacrament and Poetics in Post-Reformation England

Kimberly Johnson. Made Flesh: Sacrament and Poetics in Post-Reformation England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014. 248p., ill. ISBN 9780812245882. US $59.95 (hardcover).

Kimberly Johnson’s Made Flesh makes clear the goal of her work in its striking and direct opening sentence: “This is a book about how poems work, and about how the interpretive demands of sacramental worship inform the production of poetic texts” (1). Johnson sets her project apart from other critical texts on post-Reformation sacramental poetics, which aimed to do this very thing, but failed, as Johnson posits, to truly engage “the way poems work as literary artifacts” (1).

Jesse Zuba. The First Book: Twentieth Century Poetic Careers in America

Jesse Zuba. The First Book: Twentieth Century Poetic Careers in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016. xiii, 213p. ISBN 9780691164472. US $39.50.

On the face of it, the notion of a “poetic career” seems contradictory. As Jesse Zuba acknowledges, the benefits can be obscure, retirement plans nonexistent. But the strength of The First Book is its articulation of contradictions at the heart of this idea, and how twentieth-century American poets from Wallace Stevens to Louise Glück work them out.

Michael C. Cohen. The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America

Michael C. Cohen. The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015. 281p., 23 ill. ISBN 9780812247084. US $55.00.

Michael C. Cohen’s The Social Lives of Poems in Nineteenth-Century America is a fascinating and full account of the relationships between poems and readers between the 1790s and early 1900s. Dedicated to a “lived history of literary writing in the United States,” Cohen investigates the “variety of social relations that poems made possible,” both materially and theoretically (1).

Benjamin Bennett, The Defective Art of Poetry: Sappho to Yeats

Benjamin Bennett. The Defective Art of Poetry: Sappho to Yeats. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. x, 208 p. ISBN 9781137381873. £53.50 (hardcover).

Benjamin Bennett’s book traces a line, as its subtitle suggests, from Sappho to Yeats, as if to encompass most of the Western European lyric tradition. Its eight chapters discuss a dozen or so poems in extenso and allude to a handful of others as supporting evidence.