Whitman

“What Becomes of Us as We Read?”: Ashbery and Ethical Criticism

January 13, 2014
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What are some reasons why we read poetry? Why turn to a poem over a novel, a play, a philosophical treatise?

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Forgotten Poet of the day: Karl Shapiro

October 9, 2013
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There are many reasons why Karl Shapiro is no longer taught or on the lips of MFA students.

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Lists and Parataxis: A primer for those who want it

March 20, 2013
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Whitman has more listings than an anal retentive suburbanite.

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On Rhetorical Devices and Their Use

April 4, 2012
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If you want to escape all rhetoric, you are out of luck.

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Poetry Speaks with its Hands

December 7, 2011
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My theory of narrative is that it is arc, gesture, syntactical force the most common of which is what we call a story, but not exclusive to story.

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A Truly Democratic Poetry

October 7, 2011
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American literature sprung truly from the soil of democracy would be lively, but unrefined, poor on rules of thumb, sacrificing refinement to vitality.

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Collective Brightness

September 21, 2011
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When love and all its fruit come into question, you know you have a problem.

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And I Chose—All: Mary Ruefle

August 8, 2011
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Picasso wrote this well before Mary Ruefle started publishing books, but if his words could be an egg, Ruefle’s Selected Poems would hatch right out of it.

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‘Those are not the words’: Walt Whitman’s collapsing taxonomy of poetry

December 7, 2010
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Whitman seeks to establish a taxonomy of poetry, a system classifying what is good poetry, what bad, but the structure he establishes keeps collapsing.

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Trying to do something important: a couple of thoughts on ambition in a work of art

October 27, 2010
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Melville worries that his ambition will fail, that his picture of the whale will “remain unpainted at the last.” He is always aware he’s always on the verge of the whole thing breaking down, but the ambition is there. Beating underneath. It acts as the will to will it onward, the drive to make it work, a promise to try to do something great, the stakes that are high enough to make it worth while even if the whole thing fails.

Ambition, all by itself, makes the work a thing of value.

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Towards a Different Kind of Workshop

September 30, 2010
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I am not the expert teacher here, but the experienced learner, the one who has a love for poetry and gets excited by weird things like grammatical ambiguity, or how the poet used the weather to suggest a mood.

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