Serious Poetry

Serious Poetry : Form and Authority from Yeats to Hill

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Do we want to read poetry, or just like having a few poets to talk about?

The history of poetry in twentieth-century Britain and Ireland is one which ends with the assimilation of successful poets into a media culture; it is also, however, another history, one of form and authority, in which certain poets found modes and pitches of resistance to the seeming inevitabilities of their times. In this history, it is the authority of poetry (and not the media-processed poet) which is at stake in the integrity of poetic form.

Serious Poetry: Form and Authority from Yeats to Hill offers a controversial reading of twentieth-century British and Irish poetry centred on six figures, all of whom are critics as well as poets: W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, Seamus Heaney, and Geoffrey Hill. Yeats's centrality to twentieth-century poetry - and the problem many poets and critics had, or still have, with that centrality - is a major focus of the book. Serious Poetry argues that it is
in the strengths, possibilities, perplexities, and certainties of the poetic form that poetry's authority in a distrustful cultural climate remains most seriously alive.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 234 pages
  • 145 x 223 x 18mm | 386g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0199247471
  • 9780199247479

Table of contents

1. Rather than Words: The End of Authority? ; 2. Yeats and Remorse ; 3. Yeats's Poetic Structures ; 4. Three Critics: Eliot, Heaney, Hill ; 5. One of Us: Eliot, Auden, and Four Quartets ; 6. Yeats, Form, and Northern Irish Poetry ; 7. MacNeice's Posterity ; 8. The Pitch of Dissent: Geoffrey Hill ; BIBLIOGRAPHY ; INDEX
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Review quote

In Peter McDonald's important, intelligent and provocative book, a principled attention to form yields genuine insights which elude most critics ... McDonald's reading of Hill is, like all his readings, perspicacious and revealing. * Adam Kirsch, Times Literary Supplement * ... an immensely valuable and rigorous book. Stimulating ... uncovers recent developments within English poetry. * Tears in the Fence * The strength of the book lies in its close readings of syntax, structure and semantic nuance. * Tears in the Fence *
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About Peter McDonald

Peter McDonald is Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry in English, Christ Church, Oxford.
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Rating details

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