Funeral sermons for poetry seldom discuss, in detail, a single poem. This is a problem of reception, not of poesis, or making. I offer, here, under a perhaps too-pithy conceit, the antidote: a hyper-close, even seemingly rudimentary, close reading of ten poems from the past ten years that I believe offer glimpses of the most vital work in today’s poetry.
Posts by Nathaniel Rosenthalis
I fell in love with Lowell in college. I was seduced by the tautness of his language and the grandiosity of his worldview. “Skunk Hour,” with its painterly composition of a town in Maine, its deliberately pedestrian observations, its seemingly casual lineation, the incorporation of a song lyric (“Love, O careless love”) that […]
Glück’s essays in American Originality contain many occasional pieces, such as the introductions to collections she picked for first book prizes, but the strongest pieces move outward and inward at the same time, drawing on autobiographical material to better identify and evaluate the characteristics of our milieu.
Lerner describes the “bitter logic” of poetry, where a gap always exists between what an individual poem strives to do (“the actual”) and the abstract potential of the medium of poetry itself (“the virtual”). But can that gap be responsible for the enmity many of feel toward poetry itself?