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The Poet’s Work

29 Poets on the Origins and Practice of Their Art

"This anthology brings together essays by 20th-century poets on their own art: some concern themselves with its deep sources and ultimate justifications; others deal with technique, controversies among schools, the experience behind particular poems. The great Modernists of most countries are presented here—Paul Valéry, Federico García Lorca, Boris Pasternak, Fernando Pessoa, Eugenio Montale, Wallace Stevens—as are a range of younger, less eminent figures from the English-speaking world: Seamus Heaney, Denise Levertov, Wendell Berry. . . . The reader will find here a lively debate over the individualistic and the communal ends served by poetry, and over other issues that divide poets: inspiration and craft; the use or the condemnation of science; traditional and ’organic’ form."—Alan Williamson, New York Times Book Review

320 pages | 5 1/4 x 8 | © 1979


Table of Contents

I. Origins: The Sources and Motives of Poetry
Czeslaw Milosz, Ars Poetica?
Fernando Pessoa, Toward Explaining Heteronymy
Osip Mandelstam, The Word & Culture
Boris Pasternak, Some Statements
Federico García Lorca, The Duende: Theory and Divertissement
Luis Cernuda, Words Before a Reading
Wallace Stevens, The Irrational Element in Poetry
René Char, from The Formal Share
Eugenio Montale, from Intentions (Imaginary Interview)
George Seferis, from A Poet’s Journal
Delmore Schwartz, The Vocation of the Poet in the Modern World
Karl Shapiro, What Is Not Poetry?
A. D. Hope, The Three Faces of Love
Hugh MacDiarmid, Poetry and Science
Günter Kunert, Why Write
Wendell Berry, The Specialization of Poetry
II. Practice: The Poet’s Work
Marianne Moore, Poetry
Antonio Machado, from Notes on Poetry
Paul Valéry, A Poet’s Notebook
Hart Crane, General Aims and Theories
Dylan Thomas, Poetic Manifesto
William Carlos Williams, Projective Verse and The Practice
Louise Bogan, The Pleasures of Formal Poetry
Marianne Moore, Idiosyncrasy and Technique
Randall Jarrell, The Woman at the Washington Zoo
W. H. Auden, Writing
Denise Levertov, Some Notes on Organic Form
Robert Duncan, Notes on Poetic Form
Seamus Heaney, Feelings into Words
Gary Snyder, The Real Work (Excerpts from an Interview)
A Very Selective Reading List
Notes on the Poets and Selections

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