Poetry Reading and Talk: Reference Works
February 4, 2014 — 6:15 p.m.
The Schapiro Center, Davis Auditorium
New York, New York
Poets talk about the scholarly resources that inspire them, including poetry anthologies, rhyming dictionaries, standard dictionaries, handbooks of poetic forms, and other resources, such as the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (the latest edition of which was published in 2013).
• Nada Gordon, Instructor of English at Pratt Institute• Dorothea Lasky, Assistant Professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University
• Tan Lin, Associate Professor of Creative Writing at New Jersey City University
• Bob Perelman, Professor of English at University of Pennsylvania;
• Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Associate Professor of English at State University of New York Stony Brook.
Co-sponsored by the Heyman Center for the Humanities, the Columbia University Department of English and Comparative Literature, and The Koch-Dupee Poetry of the American Avant-Garde Reading Series
The Rise and Fall of Meter tells the unknown story of English meter from the late eighteenth century until just after World War I. Uncovering a vast and unexplored archive in the history of poetics, Meredith Martin shows that the history of prosody is tied to the ways Victorian England argued about its national identity. Gerard Manley Hopkins, Coventry Patmore, and Robert Bridges used meter to negotiate their relationship to England and the English language; George Saintsbury, Matthew Arnold, and Henry Newbolt worried about the rise of one metrical model among multiple competitors. The pressure to conform to a stable model, however, produced reactionary misunderstandings of English meter and the culture it stood for. This unstable relationship to poetic form influenced the prose and poems of Robert Graves, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and Alice Meynell. A significant intervention in literary history, this book argues that our contemporary understanding of the rise of modernist poetic form was crucially bound to narratives of English national culture.
Meredith Martin is associate professor of English at Princeton University.
Princeton University Press is pleased to announce that the poet and MacArthur Fellow Susan Stewart will be the new editor for its Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. She succeeds Paul Muldoon, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and New Yorker poetry editor.
Stewart, who also has had a distinguished career as a critic and translator, is currently the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities: Professor of English at Princeton University where she teaches aesthetics, poetics, and the history of poetry and directs the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts. Stewart is a past chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
On her appointment, Susan Stewart said: “At this moment, when American poets have taken so many new directions in their individual poems and the shapes of their books of poems, I look forward to considering a wide range of submissions, from new and established poets alike. The series will, I hope, feature volumes notable for their originality and considered sense of form.”
Princeton Humanities Publisher Rob Tempio said: “Everyone at Princeton University Press is thrilled and honored that Susan has agreed to succeed Paul Muldoon as editor of the Contemporary Poets series. She is a brilliant poet, scholar and critic who is perfectly poised to identify and foster compelling and original voices from all areas of contemporary poetry.”
Stewart will serve for a three year term. Submissions of complete manuscripts for the series may be sent to the Press between the dates of May 1st and May 31st each year and Stewart will announce selections each September.
Princeton University Press published Stewart’s first book of poems Yellow Stars and Ice as part of the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets in 1981 and also published her translation Love Lessons: Selected Poems of Alda Merini in 2009. Her volumes of poetry include The Hive, The Forest, Red Rover, and Columbarium, which won the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Through the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets, the Princeton University Press is dedicated to publishing the best work of today’s emerging and established poets. Starting in 1975 with the publication of Sadness and Happiness: Poems by Robert Pinsky, the series quickly distinguished itself as one of the most important publishing projects of its kind, winning praise from critics and poets alike. Other publications in the series include landmark collections such as Before Recollection (1987) by Ann Lauterbach, Hybrids of Plants and of Ghosts (1980) and Erosion (1983) by Jorie Graham, The Eternal City: Poems (2010) by Kathleen Graber, and Almanac: Poems (2013) by Austin Smith.
Through three editions over more than four decades, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics has built an unrivaled reputation as the most comprehensive and authoritative reference for students, scholars, and poets on all aspects of its subject: history, movements, genres, prosody, rhetorical devices, critical terms, and more. Now this landmark work has been thoroughly revised and updated for the twenty-first century. Compiled by an entirely new team of editors, the fourth edition–the first new edition in almost twenty years–reflects recent changes in literary and cultural studies, providing up-to-date coverage and giving greater attention to the international aspects of poetry, all while preserving the best of the previous volumes.
Perhaps this is why Public Books chose to put together a virtual roundtable for the book. As their website says:
“First published in 1965, the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics is a reference volume for poetry enthusiasts and literary scholars alike. Last year, a significantly revised fourth edition appeared, covering 110 nations, regions, and languages, and with 250 new entries on subjects ranging from “boustrophedon” (bidirectional texts) to “hip-hop poetry” and “anthem, national.” Public Books asked poets to respond in verse and prose to individual entries.
“And now what’s to become of us without barbarians.
Those people were a solution of a sort.”
|As the DC stalemate continues, author and essayist Daniel Mendelsohn reminds us that this waiting is nothing new. Just ask the late Greek poet C.P. Cavafy, whose wise words are the basis for Mendelsohn’s recent post on the New Yorker‘s Page-Turner blog.
Cavafy’s poem, “Waiting for the Barbarians,” describes a scene where leaders in scarlet togas wait for the old fashioned decision makers to arrive and shake things up. These barbarians are “bored by eloquence and public speaking,” a combination that does not lead to action. Nonetheless, the barbarians never arrive in Cavafy’s city, and without these visitors, everyone returns home.
“Cultural exhaustion, political inertia, the perverse yearning for some violent crisis that might break the deadlock and reinvigorate the state: these themes, so familiar to us right now, were favorites of Cavafy,” Mendelsohn writes.
With the debt ceiling deadline approaching and an estimated 800,000 government workers stuck in limbo, the barbarian option is sounding better and better. Read Mendelsohn’s entire piece here.For more of Cavary’s work, pick up a copy of C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.
A Celebration of Poetry in the Past 20 Years by Princeton University Press intern, Oliver Newman
The cloning of Dolly the sheep, 9/11, the introduction of the Euro, the election of the first black American president, the birth of Justin Bieber… A lot has happened in the 20 years since the last edition of The Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics was published. What, though, has happened in the world of contemporary poetry (not including Justin Bieber’s rise to fame)?
T.S. Eliot once declared that, at its best, contemporary poetry ‘can give us a feeling of excitement and a sense of fulfilment different from any sentiment aroused even by very much greater poetry of a past age.’ Here, Eliot is implying that contemporary poetry can evoke powerful emotional reactions borne from its immediate relevance to, and subsequent reflection of, the age in which we live. Adopting this philosophy, poetry’s development during the last 20 years should reflect the development of modern society. This is immediately apparent with the rise of electronic poetry, which resembles our age through its inherent reliance upon modern technological advances and almost unlimited, instantaneous networking via the internet. However, the correlation between contemporary poetry and the present age is perhaps most interesting when examining the medium’s development as a social spectacle, and poetry is rarely more spectacular than when being “slammed” from one opponent to another.
Poetry slamming first appeared in 1984, and has generated heated reactions from poets and academics alike. Unlike electronic poetry, which leaves original material unaltered, poetry slamming is predominantly reliant upon impermanent, sensual reactions that manifest out of the spectacle surrounding the original material, lending it to comparisons with some of the most popular forms of entertainment available today. ‘Seeing poetry slams often reminds me of watching American Idol. You’ve got a series of judges, an audience that comes in looking for a certain shtick that they want to see and that’s what they’re going to cheer for’, stated University of South Carolina Professor Kip Fulbeck in an interview with the Santa Barbara Independent. Whether the audience is ‘looking for a certain kind of shtick’ is subjective, but poetry slamming’s resemblance to shows such as American Idol and X-Factor is certainly evident. Indeed, it follows the same basic formula – three minute rounds, multiple opponents who are graded respectively by a panel of judges, and a general emphasis upon personality and performance.
While academics such as Harold Bloom, who has labelled poetry slamming ‘the death of art’, denounce the form for its reliance upon exhibitionism and competition, it could be argued that these very features elevate the medium to an altogether new art form, one that ironically reflects our age in a way that ordinary poetry could never do. By consciously emphasising performance over artistry, purveyors of the form are unconsciously parodying the age’s fascination with spectacle over original material, a fascination displayed through the overwhelming popularity of shows such as X-Factor (the 2011 final of which garnered a viewing audience of just over 15 million people).
Whether or not these resemblances give the reader a feeling of excitement and a sense of fulfilment equal to poetry of a past age, or whether it simply distorts the artistry of the original material is just one of the many themes explored in the new edition of The Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetry and Poetics. In fact this fourth edition, revised and updated for the twenty-first century, offers more than 250 new entries and covers all aspects of poetry from its history, movements and genres, to its rhetorical devices, critical terms and more, making it the most comprehensive and definitive edition yet.
Happy National Poetry Day!
W. H. Auden and Pablo Picasso were brilliant twentieth century artists creating images — one through poetry, and the other, through paintings. Princeton University Press is pleased to announce the publication of two new books focusing on their work.
For the Time Being is a pivotal book in the career of one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. W. H. Auden had recently moved to America, fallen in love with a young man to whom he considered himself married, rethought his entire poetic and intellectual equipment, and reclaimed the Christian faith of his childhood. Then, in short order, his relationship fell apart and his mother, to whom he was very close, died. In the midst of this period of personal crisis and intellectual remaking, he decided to write a poem about Christmas and to have it set to music by his friend Benjamin Britten. Applying for a Guggenheim grant, Auden explained that he understood the difficulty of writing something vivid and distinctive about that most clichéd of subjects, but welcomed the challenge. In the end, the poem proved too long and complex to be set by Britten, but in it we have a remarkably ambitious and poetically rich attempt to see Christmas in double focus: as a moment in the history of the Roman Empire and of Judaism, and as an ever-new and always contemporary event for the believer. For the Time Being is Auden’s only explicitly religious long poem, a technical tour de force, and a revelatory window into the poet’s personal and intellectual development. This edition provides the most accurate text of the poem, a detailed introduction by Alan Jacobs that explains its themes and sets the poem in its proper contexts, and thorough annotations of its references and allusions.
Alan Jacobs is the Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He previously edited Auden’s The Age of Anxiety for this series, and is the author of several books, including most recently The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction.
We invite you to read the Preface online: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/p9946.pdf
Was Picasso the artist of the twentieth century? In Picasso and Truth, T. J. Clark uses his inimitable skills as art historian and writer to answer this question and reshape our understanding of Picasso’s achievement. Supported by more than 200 images, Clark’s new approach to the central figure of modern art focuses on Picasso after the First World War: his galumphing nudes of the early 1920s, the incandescent Guitar and Mandolin on a Table from 1924, Three Dancers done a year later, the hair-raising Painter and Model from 1927, the monsters and voracious bathers that follow, and finally–summing up but also saying farewell to the age of Cubism–the great mural Guernica.
Based on Clark’s A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, delivered at the National Gallery of Art, Picasso and Truth argues that the way to take Picasso’s true measure as an artist is to leave behind biography–the stale stories of lovers and hangers-on and suntans at the beach that presently constitute the “Picasso literature”–and try to follow the steps of his pictorial argument. As always with Clark, specific works of art hold center stage. But finding words for them involves thinking constantly about modern culture in general. Here the book takes Nietzsche as guide.
Is Picasso the artist Nietzsche was hoping for–the one come to cure us of our commitment to Truth? Certainly, as the dark central years of the twentieth century encroached, Picasso began to lose confidence in Cubism’s comprehensiveness and optimism. Picasso and Truth charts this shift in vivid detail, making it possible for us to see Picasso turn away from eyesight, felt proximity, and the ground of shared experience–the warmth and safety that Clark calls “room-space”–to stake everything on a glittering, baffling, unbelievable here and now. And why? Because the most modernity can hope for from art, Picasso’s new paintings seem to say, is a picture of the strange damaged world we have made for ourselves. In all its beauty and monstrosity.
T. J. Clark is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Art History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Painting of Modern Life (Princeton), The Sight of Death, and Farewell to an Idea, and the coauthor of (with “Retort”) Afflicted Powers.
We invite you to listen to an interview with T. J. Clark on BBC Radio 3 Nightwaves (22 minutes in).
|Join KGB Bar as they welcome Gary Whitehead, Jessica Greenbaum, and Anthony Carelli on May 8.Princeton University Press Contemporary Poets
May 08, 2013
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
85 East 4th St.
NY, NY 10003
Gary J. Whitehead has authored three collections of poetry, the most recent of which is A Glossary of Chickens, chosen by Paul Muldoon for the Princeton University Press Contemporary Poets Series. His work has appeared in the New Yorker and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s public radio program the Writer’s Almanac. He has been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. Whitehead teaches English at Tenafly High School in New Jersey and lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Jessica Greenbaum was born in Brooklyn in 1957, but didn’t ascend to residency there until 1987, after living stints in Long Island, Manhattan and Houston, TX. She is a winner of the Nation’s Discovery Award, PEN’s Emerging Writer Award and the Gerald Cable Prize for her first book, Inventing Difficulty. Her second book, The Two Yvonnes, came out from Princeton’s Contemporary Poets Series . She is the poetry editor for the annual upstreet and lives, with her family, in Ft. Greene, where she takes advantage of foot traffic going to the Brooklyn Flea to raise money for girls’ and women’s civil rights issues in the third world.
Anthony Carelli was raised in Poynette, Wisconsin and studied at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and New York University. In 2011 he was awarded a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. His poems have appeared in various magazines, including the New Yorker. His first book of poems, Carnations (Princeton, 2011), was named a finalist for the 2011 Levis Reading Prize. Anthony lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches expository writing at New York University.
Today is believed to be the day of William Shakespeare’s birth (and death!). Born in 1564, Shakespeare occupies a universal position as one of the greatest literary figures of all time. In celebration of all of his contributions to drama, poetry, literary history and more, we’ve compiled a reading list of our best books on Shakespeare’s life and works. Today, let’s celebrate the man who enriched language and our imaginations, and think of him as we read his own words, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” (Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V).
Lectures on Shakespeare
W. H. Auden, Edited by Arthur Kirsch
Here’s Chapter 1
Reflecting the twentieth-century poet’s lifelong engagement with the crowning masterpieces of English literature, these lectures add immeasurably to both our understanding of Auden and our appreciation of Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and Its Relation to Social Custom
C. L. Barber, With a new foreword by Stephen Greenblatt
Check out Chapter 1
Revealing the interplay between social custom and dramatic form, the book shows how the Elizabethan antithesis between everyday and holiday comes to life in the comedies’ combination of seriousness and levity.
Shakespeare’s Brain: Reading with Cognitive Theory
Mary Thomas Crane
Here’s the Introduction
Crane reveals in Shakespeare’s texts a web of structures and categories through which meaning is created. The approach yields fresh insights into a wide range of his plays, including The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Measure for Measure, and The Tempest.
Hamlet in Purgatory
Winner of 2002 Erasmus Institute Book Prize
One of Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles for 2001
Read Chapter 1
This book constitutes an extraordinary feat that could have been accomplished by only Stephen Greenblatt. It is at once a deeply satisfying reading of medieval religion, an innovative interpretation of the apparitions that trouble Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, and an exploration of how a culture can be inhabited by its own spectral leftovers.
Shakespeare and Elizabeth: The Meeting of Two Myths
Read the Introduction
Did William Shakespeare ever meet Queen Elizabeth I? There is no evidence of such a meeting, yet for three centuries writers and artists have been provoked and inspired to imagine it. This is the first book to explore the rich history of invented encounters between the poet and the Queen, and examines how and why the mythology of these two charismatic and enduring cultural icons has been intertwined in British and American culture.
Johann Gottfried Herder, Translated and edited by Gregory Moore
Here’s Chapter 1
One of the most important and original works in the history of literary criticism, this passionate essay pioneered a new, historicist approach to cultural artifacts by arguing that they should be judged not by their conformity to a set of conventions imported from another time and place, but by the effectiveness of their response to their own historical and cultural context.
Hamlet’s Arab Journey: Shakespeare’s Prince and Nasser’s Ghost
Read the Introduction
Documenting how global sources and models helped nurture a distinct Arab Hamlet tradition, this book represents a new approach to the study of international Shakespeare appropriation.
Double Vision: Moral Philosophy and Shakespearean Drama
Here’s Chapter 1
Developing an account of literature’s relation to knowledge, morality, and rhetoric, and advancing philosophical-literary readings of Richard III, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, and King Lear, Zamir shows how his approach can open up familiar texts in surprising and rewarding ways.
The Academy of American Poets declares today, April 18th, national Poem in Your Pocket Day! Today, choose a poem (or maybe a song) and carry it with you all day long. More importantly, share it with others throughout your day. You can share your chosen poem on Twitter with the hashtag #pocketpoem. Today, our pocket poem, “Oyster,” is from Gary Whitehead’s new collection of poems A Glossary of Chickens.
Oyster I am and of course am not,
crammed betimes abed,
awake now and filter the world!
Here, in this wet
section, sucking away unread,
slaked where silt has quarreled
with silt, the as-yet
with now instead
of then, what has it availed
to live the clam, all shut
and somewhat dead,
flexed for no one but
yourself in your unlit head?
O, open! Be befooled,
full of colorless blood,
sharp shell unhandselled.
Better to be rent apart,
all jiggly and liberated,
than to fret an irk until it’s pearled.
Today, choose a poem, keep it in your pocket, and have it on hand to share with friends throughout your day. Don’t forget that the month of April is National Poetry Month. Celebrate in poem!