Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue Review

Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue
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Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue ReviewOur Savage Art
William Logan has invigorated poetry criticism. He slashes the hacks and poets who think they are poets but are actually broken prose wordslingers.
I know I was one.The elevation of his criticism has directed me to the more skillful poets- Geoffrey Hill, Auden, Housman, William Logan himself.
Demolished the pretenders Jorie Graham, the confessional poets who write their pathetic lives without an ounce of art. Franz Wright, Mark Doty, Billy Collins goodbye. Hello Larkin, Gjetrud, Schnackenberg, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Frost.
A stunning very welcome book a corrective to contemporary boosterism among the wannabe poets of today.Our Savage Art: Poetry and the Civil Tongue OverviewThe most notorious poet-critic of his generation, William Logan has defined our view of poets good and bad, interesting and banal, for more than three decades. Featured in theNew York Times Book Review, theTimes Literary Supplement, and theNew Criterion, among other journals, Logan's eloquent, passionate prose never fails to provoke readers and poets, reminding us of the value and vitality of the critic's savage art.LikeThe Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism,Our Savage Art features the corrosive wit and darkly discriminating critiques that have become the trademarks of Logan's style. Opening with a defense of the critical eye, this collection features essays on Robert Lowell's correspondence, Elizabeth Bishop's unfinished poems, the inflated reputation of Hart Crane, the loss of the New Critics, and a damning-and already highly controversial-indictment of an edition of Robert Frost's notebooks. Logan also includes essays on Derek Walcott and Geoffrey Hill, two crucial figures in the divided world of contemporary poetry, and an attempt to rescue the reputation of the nineteenth-century poet John Townsend Trowbridge. Short reviews consider John Ashbery, Anne Carson, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Louise Glück, Jorie Graham, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, and dozens of others. Though he might be called a cobra with manners, Logan is a fervent advocate for poetry, andOur Savage Art continues to raise the standard of what the critic can do. (6/19/09)

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