Break, Blow, Burn
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Break, Blow, Burn

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Description

America's most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition--and unearths some previously obscure verses worthy of a place in our canon. Combining close reading with a panoramic breadth of learning, Camille Paglia sharpens our understanding of poems we thought we knew, from Shakespeare to Dickinson to Plath, and makes a case for including in the canon works by Paul Blackburn, Wanda Coleman, Chuck Wachtel, Rochelle Kraut--and even Joni Mitchell. Daring, riveting, and beautifully written, Break, Blow, Burn is a modern classic that excites even seasoned poetry lovers--and continues to create generations of new ones.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 247 pages
  • 136 x 203 x 18mm | 282g
  • Vintage Books
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0375725393
  • 9780375725395
  • 96,524

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"Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems is destined to become a landmark. In it, America's premier intellectual provocateur explores and celebrates a series of great poems of the Western tradition, including some surprising discoveries of her own. She brings new energy and insight to our understanding of poems we already know, such as masterpieces by Shakespeare, Donne, Shelley, Dickinson, Lowell, and Plath. She leads us to appreciate the artistry of writers with whom we may not be familiar, such as Chuck Wachtel and Wanda Coleman. And she hails the songwriter Joni Mitchell as a major contemporary poet.
Daring, erudite, entertaining, and infused throughout with Paglia's inimitable style and passion, this beautifully written book--and the dazzling mind behind it--will entice readers to begin or renew a passionate engagement with poetry.

"From the Hardcover edition.
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Table of contents

Introduction

1. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73
2. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29
3. William Shakespeare, The Ghost's Speech
4. John Donne, “The Flea”
5. John Donne, Holy Sonnet I
6. John Donne, Holy Sonnet XIV
7. George Herbert, “Church-monuments”
8. George Herbert, “The Quip”
9. George Herbert, “Love”
10. Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”
11. William Blake, “The Chimney Sweeper”
12. William Blake, “London”
13. William Wordsworth, “The World Is Too Much with Us”
14. William Wordsworth, “Composed upon Westminster Bridge”
15. Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias”
16. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Kubla Khan”
17. Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
18. Emily Dickinson, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death”
19. Emily Dickinson, “Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers”
20. Emily Dickinson, “The Soul Selects Her Own Society”
21. William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”
22. William Butler Yeats, “Leda and the Swan”
23. Wallace Stevens, “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”
24. Wallace Stevens, “Anecdote of the Jar”
25. William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”
26. William Carlos Williams, “This Is Just to Say”
27. Jean Toomer, “Georgia Dusk”
28. Langston Hughes, “Jazzonia”
29. Theodore Roethke, “Cuttings”
30. Theodore Roethke, “Root Cellar”
31. Theodore Roethke, “The Visitant”
32. Robert Lowell, “Man and Wife”
33. Sylvia Plath, “Daddy”
34. Frank O’Hara, “A Mexican Guitar”
35. Paul Blackburn, “The Once-Over”
36. May Swenson, “At East River”
37. Gary Snyder, “Old Pond”
38. Norman H. Russell, “The Tornado”
39. Chuck Wachtel, “A Paragraph Made Up of Seven Sentences”
40. Rochelle Kraut, “My Makeup”
41. Wanda Coleman, “Wanda Why Aren’t You Dead?”
42. Ralph Pomeroy, “Corner”
43. Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock”

Biographical Notes
Bibliography
Acknowledgments
Permissions
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Review quote

"She flies as high as you can go. . . . Bold and convincing. . . . Exemplary. . . . A rich book."

-The New York Times Book Review



"The chapter on Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' will take the top of your head off!" -James Wolcott



"As entertaining as it is dazzingly erudite, Break, Blow, Burn is capable of re-energizing any reader's engagement with poetry."

-Francine du Plessix Gray, The Week



"I hope a lot of people read this book. . . . There wasn't a commentary where I didn't learn something about the poem in question, no matter how familiar the poem was." -Philip Marchand, Toronto Star



"It will have students storming the walls of tomorrow's English departments, mad for poetry again." -St. Petersburg Times



"Dazzling. . . . Bursts with her ingenuity. . . . Brilliant insights . . . permeate the book. . . . Readers receive a marvelous education."

-Rocky Mountain News



"Paglia's vision is always fresh. . . . She makes a fascinating and challenging reading companion. These essays will inspire anyone to turn back to poetry again." -The Times (London)
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About Camille Paglia

Camille Paglia is the University Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A regular contributor to Salon.com, she is the author of Glittering Images; Break, Blow, Burn; Sexual Personae; Sex, Art, and American Culture; and Vamps & Tramps.
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Rating details

965 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 30% (288)
4 41% (394)
3 23% (221)
2 4% (43)
1 2% (19)
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