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Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, America was captivated by a muddled notion of “etymology.” New England Transcendentalism was only one outcropping of a nationwide movement in which schoolmasters across small-town America taught students the roots of words in ways that dramatized religious issues and sparked wordplay.Shaped by this ferment, our major romantic authors shared the sensibility that Friedrich Schlegel linked to punning and christened “romantic irony.”
Metaphysical, agnostic, and ironic with a modernist voice.
A unique voice among contemporary American poets, John Matthias has compiled here a major new collection, his first volume of poetry since the publication in 1995 of his retrospective collections of shorter and longer poems. Divided into three sections, Pages begins with thirty short poems that range in subject from Ovid and Akhmatova to remembered friends and family.
The widely divergent voices in this collection are united by their common interest in the American literary heritage and by their intention to redefine that heritage by altering our angle of vision or forcing us to re-examine some traditional values.
In 1906 a young, semiliterate Greek arrived in America with a fewdollars in his pocket and his people’s legacy of proverbs, superstitions, and cultural traits to guide him through the dangers and opportunities of a new world. The Time of the Little Black Bird begins with the story of this young man and his plan to build a future for his family as it makes its way in America.Told
In the two decades that have passed since Robert Lowell’s death, Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors is the first critical survey of the poet’s aesthetic efforts to make personal vision and public exhortation cohere and thus combine poetic genres that have been historically discrete.Rather
“Mysticism is peculiar to the mountainbred,” Frank Waters once told an interviewer for Psychology Today. And in Mountain Dialogues, available for the first time in paperback, the mountainbred Waters proves it true. Ranging over such diverse subjects as silence, spirits, time, change, and the sacred mountains of the world, Waters sounds again and again the radiant, mystic theme of man’s inherent wholeness and his oneness with the cosmos.Writing
The poetry of John Matthias has long been admired by other poets for the way it refuses to be categorized. Lyrical and experimental, cosmopolitan and rooted in place, it challenges our received notions of what poetry can be at the end of the twentieth century. This volume introduces the work of this significant American poet to readers previously unfamiliar with it and enriches the reading of those who have long admired it.
In this, his tenth book of essays, renowned raconteur Sam Pickering wanders from Nova Scotia to Tennessee, from a middle school athletic field to an English department. He tells stories about people named Googoo and Loppie. He examines trees and flowers. He watches a daughter play soccer and a son row. He attends funerals and remembers the past and imagines the future. His is the ordinary world observed closely.But reading Pickering makes life blossom.
In the spring of 1916, as the workers for woman suffrage were laying plans for another attack on the bastions of male supremacy, the idea for The Sturdy Oak was born: a satiric look at the gender roles of the time written as a collaborative effort by the leading authors of the day, such as Fannie Hurst, Dorothy Canfield, and Kathleen Norris.
In the winter of 1951-52, Anaïs Nin was a writer in despair. More than a dozen publishing houses had rejected her new novel, A Spy in the House of Love, and Nin became desperate for literary acceptance. Encouragement came from an unexpected source. Felix Pollak, an Austrian emigré and Rare Book Librarian at Northwestern University, had been entrusted with the task of acquiring some of Nin’s manuscripts for the library.
Four essential questions: Why does one fish? How should one properly fish? What relations are created in fishing? And what effects does fishing have on the future? Haunted by Waters is a self-examination by the author as he constructs his own narrative and tries to answer these questions for himself. But it is also a thorough examination of the answers he uncovers in the course of reading what’s been written on the subject.As
Turner Cassity is like a highly accomplished traditional composer—Camille Saint-Saëns, say, or Richard Strauss—who does not doubt that the music is the score and the score is the music. That is, poetry is verse and verse is poetry.Given that confidence, he is prepared to take on any subject. In the forty years he has been publishing, Mr. Cassity has never once written about nothing.
America’s Sketchbook recaptures the drama of nineteenth-century American cultural life, placing at its center a genre—the literary sketch—more available than the novel, less governable by the critical establishment, and shot through with the tensions and types of local and national culture-making.