Now in its third edition Poetry: The Basics remains an engaging exploration of the world of poetry. Drawing on examples ranging from Chaucer to children's rhymes, Cole Porter to Carol Ann Duffy, and from around the English-speaking world, it shows how any reader can understand and gain more pleasure from poetry. Exploring poetry’s relationship to everyday language and introducing major genres and technical aspects in an accessible way, it is a clear introduction to how different types of poetry work through the study of details and of whole poems. With a revised chapter on the different practices and ideas in the writing of poetry now, including sections on film poetry and digital poetics, this is a must read for all students of English Literature.
This collection of Jeffrey Wainwright's poetry brings together most of his first collection, a Poetry Book Society recommendation, and much of what he has written since that time. The poems confront a wide range of intellectual, personal, and political experiences.
What Must Happen is Jeffrey Wainwright’s most intimate and elegiac collection of poems to date, recalling lost parents, relations and friends. Shared childhood memories, and the history of hometown Stoke-on-Trent, connect Wainwright’s personal themes to wider historical subjects. A sequence of contemporary hymns to Roman gods depicts Jupiter, ‘elbows on the bar, nursing a beer’, while a homage to twentieth-century Italian painter Ottone Rosai asks, twenty times, ‘What is there to an empty street?’ One answer: ‘the simply sunlit, / the clearly pure, / the assent to less’. Another: ‘plums / so prolifific they colour out / the leaves’. Rather than polarising the playful and the solemn, Wainwright’s poems examine their complex interactions. Though composed primarily in free verse, symmetries and refrains span the collection as a whole, imparting a tight, vibrant clarity. The poems in What Must Happen are painted with a hair-fine brush, swiftft and precise, unwilling to rest at an adequate fifiction as long as an inadequate truth remains in reach. ‘There are these things and sometimes the shadow of these things / but they will not be seen apart.’
Geoffrey Hill has said that some great poetry 'recognises that words fail us'. These essays explore Hill's struggle over fifty years with the recalcitrance of language. This book seeks to show how all his work is marked by the quest for the right pitch of utterance whether it is sorrowing, angry, satiric or erotic. It shows how Hill's words are never lightly 'acceptable' but an ethical act, how he seeks out words he can stand by - words that are 'getting it right'. This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date critical work on Geoffrey Hill so far, covering all his work up to 'Scenes from Comus' (2005), as well as some poems yet to appear in book form. It aims to contribute something to the understanding of his poetry among those who have followed it for many years and students and other readers encountering this major poet for the first time.
In a series of ninety-five poems we listen to the Reasoner', a voice that is by turns ardent, despairing and comic. Petty obsessions rub against attempts at philosophical seriousness; vernacular expression vies with an intent deliberation. Above all, the Reasoner is worried. He has cherished the notion that, with thought and study, the world may be understood. But the world remains recalcitrant, elusive even in simple things like the trickeries of light on a spider's web. Language plays tricks, although it may be as complete as we can manage. History proposes and disposes of its patterns. Behind all this there may be a hidden order' - and that is both a hope and a fear. Does God help us to understand any of this? Does Art? Is the soul' a sanctuary? The Reasoner, the reader, smiles ruefully and soldiers on', for this is not a wicked but a hard world, / and people struggle, without a scheme of things, / and deserve release.'
This poetry collection, whose title is taken from a letter by Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, addresses the desire for clarity in knowledge of the world, the universe, and oneself. Five poems are inspired by the work of physicist Richard Feynman, while others ponder infinity, numbers, and the 39-poem sequence "Mere Bagatelle," which explores the assertions of American philosopher Jerry Fodor. Erudite and challenging, yet never straying far from the personal, these poems explore the very nature of ideas and the various ways in which science, mathematics, art, and philosophy illuminate what it is to be human.