TITLE

THE STATE OF LETTERS

AUTHOR(S)
Bedient, Calvin
PUB. DATE
January 1985
SOURCE
Sewanee Review;Winter1985, Vol. 93 Issue 1, p128
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Literary Criticism
ABSTRACT
The article reports that author Randall Jarrell's first and freshest collection of critical pieces, the famous "Poetry and the Age," was a once-in-a-lifetime, indeed a once-in-an-age, performance-a crystal bell shaken in celebration and giving off a gleeful, high-pitched, but vigorous ring. Of course Jarrell had the enviable advantage of being in the right place at the right time-and with the right gifts. Jarrell wrote about poetry as an insider who could also step outside it, a deft dancer, to partner it as a critic. Unlike most other poets he didn't jealously resist the fact that poetry is a joyous heterocosm, replete with opposed temperaments and forms. As a reader and a critic all he asked was for the felicity or finality one expects from the finest verse. Probably no one ever had a truer notion, a surer sense, of what poetry is. To read Jarrell on a poet was to learn something not only about the poet but about poetry, about what it would look like if cornered. His unselfconscious, unapologetic, only slightly bullying assurance that he knew what real poetry constitutes had the backing of his spirited articulation.
ACCESSION #
16164781

 

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