Read Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1950 by Melissa Kwasny Online

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Toward the Open Field brings together many of the great prose pieces--essays, letters, declarations, defenses, manifestos, and apologia--by the most influential European and American poets from the Romantics to the Symbolists, Surrealists, and Moderns. Hitherto uncollected and all in English, the work in this anthology follows the changing notions of what a poem is, what aToward the Open Field brings together many of the great prose pieces--essays, letters, declarations, defenses, manifestos, and apologia--by the most influential European and American poets from the Romantics to the Symbolists, Surrealists, and Moderns. Hitherto uncollected and all in English, the work in this anthology follows the changing notions of what a poem is, what a poet is, and why we read a poem, tracing the development of stylistic and ideological strategies that have spawned our current, conflicting understandings of verse.The book begins with Wordsworth's 1802 "Preface" to the Lyrical Ballads and proceeds through 150 years of English language tradition, including the European poetries which greatly influenced it. These prose works allow the reader to share one of the great extended conversations by poets about poetry during a dynamic period of literary experimentation.Includes work by Charles Baudelaire, Andre Breton, Aime Cesaire, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Langston Hughes, John Keats, Federico Garcia Lorca, Mina Loy, Stephane Mallarme, Marianne Moore, Charles Olson, Ezra Pound, Arthur Rimbaud, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Paul Valery, Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, William Wordsworth and Louis Zukofsky....

Title : Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1950
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ISBN : 9780819566072
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 357 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Toward the Open Field: Poets on the Art of Poetry, 1800-1950 Reviews

  • Leanna
    2018-12-24 11:57

    I'm going to take this book slooowly. Thoughts as I go.(1) The first essay in the book is William Wordsworth's preface to the second edition of "The Lyrical Ballads" (1802). This essay is known as the first real articulation of Romanticism. Essential points--a poet is more sensitive than the common man; a poet should speak in the "real language" of men; a poet should write from the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" but as filtered through the lens of thought; a poet should conjure up emotions from past events, and aim to get as close as possible to duplicating those emotions in his poems; a poet should write from and produce pleasure; and a poet can use meter to regulate or restrain otherwise overwhelming emotions in a poem. As for where I stand--I very much write from a place of emotion, so I'm definitely Romantic where that is concerned. I'm intrigued by Wordsworth's thoughts on how a poet experiences emotion. As I mentioned, he thinks that a poet experiences emotion more intensely than the common man. Is this true? It's true that all the poets I know are very sensitive people, but I also know many people who are not poets who are quite sensitive.Wordsworth gets very intricate and psychological when describing the poet's experience and use of emotion, which I found fascinating. He says that a poet conjures up emotion no longer immediate, writes until he can get close to that emotion, and then tries to duplicate said emotion on the page. While the poet can get closer to the emotion in his reflections than the common man can, no poet can ever accurately and completely represent--or, really, enact--an emotion in a poem. The relationship between emotion and the creative process has long fascinated me--while I do write from a place of emotion, I also write from image and metaphor, so I don't think that external events and the emotions they cause are as influential to me as they are to a prototypical Wordsworthian poet.I guess a larger question I have about this essay has to do with a tension I'm seeing regarding the power of introspection and individualism vs. universal sympathy. Wordsworth both extols the poet's ability to swim around in his own feelings AND encourages getting in touch with the common man's feelings and experiences. It seems that there is a bit of a contradiction here--if the poet is different than the common man in his sensitivity, and if dwelling in his own emotional life is encouraged, can the poet accurately stretch his sympathies towards "common man" outside of him? I'm not quite sure how much a good Romantic prizes his own interiority vs the common man's.(2) This second excerpt was of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s thoughts on Wordsworth’s preface (1817), plus more of his thoughts on art in general (1818). The tone is rather pompous. Really, all that was of interest to me was the idea that art imitates, and that any successful imitation involves both difference and sameness. Coleridge argues that an exact clone or copy “disgusts” because we are fooled into thinking the object is real, and are horrified to see that it isn’t. Frankly, I don’t know anyone who is so taken by a piece of art’s accuracy in representation that they think it’s the real thing, and get freaked out when it dawns on them that it isn’t, but I was intrigued by Coleridge’s idea that “differences,” put in harmony, are responsible for great art (I think New Critics would like this!). So, besides aiming for accuracy and deviation in a representation, an artist could also, for example, have a bit of sameness pop up in their stream of variety, or loosen up something repetitive or monotonous with some unforeseen quirk…indeed, this has been told to me before—temper imagination with reality, indirection with direction, obscurity with straightforwardness…and it is always true and good advice.

  • J.C.
    2019-01-15 17:14

    This is one of those books that I shamefully neglect by leaving on my desk, underneath notebooks and such for a while before getting back to. Not that it's a bad book, certainly not, but that reading these sometimes dense essays without any examples of poetry in between can be, I guess, exhausting or at least taxing. I would need a breather after two or three of them, sit and think or to move on to something else. And i must say, often i found myself very intrigued, mind blown, or confused, but nothing beats reading actual poetry.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-17 08:51

    It’s hard to rate this book—it’s a collection of essays by many of our most canonic modernist poets, which makes it an important read. But certainly, some essays are far more interesting than others (for myself, I would skip to Baudelaire, Valery, Gertrude Stein, and maybe one or two others). Still, that’s not the fault of the editor, and that doesn’t mean that they aren’t all valuable pieces, either! Take what you need from this book is what I say, and don’t feel guilty skipping past writing that doesn’t appeal to you...

  • Joyful Grapes
    2019-01-19 16:16

    Do not agree with all the essays, but appreciated immersing myself in the contemplation of prosody for a good while!

  • Abby
    2019-01-11 16:12

    This is a compilation of essays about poetry, written by poets. Most of the poets are well-known, from Wordsworth to Stein. Since each essay has a different author, I found some to be better than others, I enjoyed some more than others, and I agreed with some more than others. Most of them were sort of boring, but for the most part there is a lot to be learned in this book. It's essential to know what past poets have thought about and done with poetry if you want to be a true poet yourself, and this book allows you to learn it. My favorite essays were those by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charles Baudelaire, Federico Lorca, John Keats, and Ezra Pound. Also, Walt Whitman had some good things to say, and Andre Breton's essay about surrealism was fascinating and entertaining. The rest either made no impression or a bad impression on me.

  • Sarah
    2019-01-02 09:07

    Though I have to be in the right "mood" to read these essays, these poets know their shit.