Green Thoughts, Green Shades: Contemporary Poets on the Early Modern Lyric

Green Thoughts, Green Shades: Contemporary Poets on the Early Modern Lyric

Jonathan F. S. Post

Language: English

Pages: 316

ISBN: 2:00252798

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


What a delight it is to read these astute essays by poets one admires about poets one has treasured for years! The critical intelligence and lively writing on every page should appeal to a wide audience. Students of the Early Modern Lyric will find much to refresh their understanding; the general reader will be seduced -- and rewarded."--Chana Bloch, author of Mrs. Dumpty and co-translator of The Song of Songs"This is a splendid collection, shrewdly conceived and brilliantly executed, which should be read by anyone who loves poetry. As some of our most accomplished contemporary poets ruminate on the poetry of the seventeenth century, they also illuminate the practices and possibilities of twenty-first century poetry."--Michael Schoenfeldt, author of Bodies and Selves in Early Modern England"All poetry in English reaches back one way or another for its pith and sweetness to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There is always, in every true poem, some seed or element of that period, honey of lute song or devotional bite. I think that goes for Frank O'Hara and Allen Ginsberg, for Elizabeth Bishop and Gwendolyn Brooks and Robert Lowell, for Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore, for Mark Strand and Frank Bidart and Louise Glck, for C. D. Wright and Michael Palmer, and for the young poets in college and high school. You can hear it and feel it, through infinite variations--and that is why this book is a great idea."--Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States"I am delighted by Jonathan Post's collection. There is no other collection or anthology of this sort, or even remotely similar, available to students of poetry of the past, or to readers of contemporary poets. Green Thoughts, Green Shades is the liveliest collection of criticism I have read in a long time." - Richard Howard,

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shows it proudly to the grandmother. sidney and the sestina 53 But secretly, while the grandmother busies herself about the stove, the little moons fall down like tears from between the pages of the almanac into the flower bed the child has carefully placed in front of the house. Time to plant tears, says the almanac. The grandmother sings to the marvellous stove and the child draws another inscrutable house.10 Superficially, nothing much happens in this little drama with its two characters who

at last out of disease and take this world (of self and all its words) away. (Cioran: a book is a suicide postponed.) The poem was surely as odd a song in its own time as in ours, giving such obsessive voice to its senses of disquietude. The very mind’s a moan, the mouth mucked up. In Wyatt’s lament the scope of hope is closed right down; the freedom to seek outward, freely east and west, is shrunk to the scale of a self-absorption, self as a hell of echoes. If sounds close down (an ear pressed

so notes the physicist David Deutsch in The Fabric of Reality, gold you can stick your hand through is no longer gold. When the atoms “are sufficiently far apart it becomes misleading to think of them as forming a continuous sheet.”11 The chemical “proof ” of Donne’s figure—the novelty of using science to validate metaphysics—is actually carried into realms of fantasy. The figure is gorgeously extravagant. Amorous. An act of faith. Love spends metaphor like a spider’s rappelling filament from its own

called the “Colonial Baroque.” The phrase invites us to regard this early “American” writer as part of a broader European tradition somehow ending up in Westfield, Massachusetts, the poet with his Leicestershire diction intact, as Hass emphasizes, somehow untransmuted by the journey across the Atlantic. At one point we are reminded that Taylor’s poem “Thy Good Ointment” is “a sort of homemade verbal equivalent to a Bernini fountain, sweetly eschatological, and Calvinist to the core.” The phrasing

answered, worthy to be here: Love said, You shall be he. I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear, I cannot look on thee. Love took my hand, and smiling did reply, Who made the eyes but I? Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame Go where it doth deserve. And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame? My dear, then I will serve. You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat: So I did sit and eat. Absolution? Salvation? Or, having admitted to his share of the blame, God’s peace-offering?

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