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
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.
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!
National Poetry Month is held every April with the help of schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, writers, and poets throughout the country who come together to celebrate the significance of poetry in our world. Check out AAP’s poets.org for 30 Ways to Celebrate poetry month this year. We’re celebrating PUP style with a reading list (and some free excerpts) of some of our favorite poetry books. Enjoy!
The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492
Translated, Edited & Introduced by Peter Cole
Read the Introduction
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, Stephen Cushman, Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer
Check out some sample entries on Electronic Poetry, Rhythm, Translation, and Verse & Prose
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition
Roland Greene, editor in chief
Stephen Cushman, general editor
Clare Cavanagh, Jahan Ramazani & Paul Rouzer, associate editors
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
At well over a million words and more than 1,000 entries, the Encyclopedia has unparalleled breadth and depth. Entries range in length from brief paragraphs to major essays of 15,000 words, offering a more thorough treatment—including expert synthesis and indispensable bibliographies—than conventional handbooks or dictionaries.
This is a book that no reader or writer of poetry will want to be without.
- Thoroughly revised and updated by a new editorial team for twenty-first-century students, scholars, and poets
- More than 250 new entries cover recent terms, movements, and related topics
- Broader international coverage includes articles on the poetries of more than 110 nations, regions, and languages
- Expanded coverage of poetries of the non-Western and developing worlds
- Updated bibliographies and cross-references
- New, easier-to-use page design
- Fully indexed for the first time
The random draw for this book with be Friday 9/21 at 3 pm EST. Be sure to like us on Facebook if you haven’t already to be entered to win!