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by Dana Gioia

eBook Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture download ISBN: 1555973701
Author: Dana Gioia
Publisher: Graywolf Press; Anniversary edition (September 1, 2002)
Language: English
Pages: 256
ePub: 1340 kb
Fb2: 1650 kb
Rating: 4.7
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Category: Literature
Subcategory: History and Criticism

Can Poetry Matter? book. In 1991, Dana Gioia's provocative essay "Can Poetry Matter?" was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and received more public response than any other piece in the magazine's history.

Can Poetry Matter? book. In his book, Gioia more fully addressed the question: Is there a place for poetry to be part of modern American mainstream culture? Ten years later, the debate is as lively and heated as ever.

When Dana Gioia's essay "Can Poetry Matter?" appeared in the Atlantic in 1991, it sparked a firestorm of debate . Rare for a writer on poetry and poets, he avoids being ponderous.

When Dana Gioia's essay "Can Poetry Matter?" appeared in the Atlantic in 1991, it sparked a firestorm of debate and discussion over the role of the poet in today's world - a dialogue in which Gioia participated on radio, television, and in print. One of the more stimulating and provocative figures on our literary horizon, and the author of two widely praised books of poems, Gioia is also an essayist of wide renown. His prose is lucid and for the most part lively, although it is a tad wordy and the relative sameness of voice and style, when encountered in a collection of essays, is a trifle wearying.

Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture, by Dana . American poetry now belongs to a subculture.

Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture, by Dana Gioia. No longer part of the mainstream of artistic and intellectual life, it has become the specialized occupation of a relatively small and isolated group. Little of the frenetic activity it generates ever reaches outside that closed group. There have never before been so many new books of poetry published, so many anthologies or literary magazines. Never has it been so easy to earn a living as a poet. There are now several thousand college-level jobs in teaching creative writing, and many more at the primary and secondary levels.

In his title essay, Gioia makes an unobjectionable analysis of how this happened, and even laudably goes .

In his title essay, Gioia makes an unobjectionable analysis of how this happened, and even laudably goes further with a few corrective ideas. Some seem easy enough to accomplish (such as encouraging poets at poetry readings to read others' poetry as wall as their own), others harder (encouraging a more rigorous criticism of poetry, Ã la Randall Jarrell, not the usual praise-your-pals stuff). Having made so lucid a diagnosis, Gioia the critic opens himself up to inevitable and somewhat unenviable scrutiny-as he gets down to cases in the essays that follow. He is no Jarrell himself.

In 1991, Dana Gioia's provocative essay "Can Poetry Matter?" was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and received .

In 1991, Dana Gioia's provocative essay "Can Poetry Matter?" was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and received more public response than any other piece in the magazine's history.

Essays on Poetry and American Culture. Whether poetry does matter or whether poetry can matter are two different questions, but Dana Gioia treats these two as one and the same and, in the end, doesn't answer it, except incompletely. Yes, poetry CAN make your life happy. Poetry Saved My Life! By Thriftbooks. com User, October 5, 2006. Does poetry matter? Yes! Yes!

In his 1991 Atlantic essay 'Can Poetry Matter . They agreed with Gioia, and they, too, said poetry was no longer important to either American culture or American literary culture. Next week: Dana Gioia on poetry and business. Photograph by The Paperclip.

In his 1991 Atlantic essay 'Can Poetry Matter,' Dana Gioia argued that poetry had been captured by academia and disconnected from its reading public. Gioia’s argument was not new; in Can Poetry Matter? he pointed out that Edmund Wilson had expressed similar sentiments in the 1930s and Joseph Epstein in the 1980s. What was new was a rather direct frontal attack on the poetry establishment, an attack that spilled over into the public consciousness.

After his 1991 essay "Can Poetry Matter?" in The .

After his 1991 essay "Can Poetry Matter?" in The Atlantic generated international attention, Gioia quit business to pursue writing full-time. Gioia has published five books of poetry and three volumes of literary criticism as well as opera libretti, song cycles, translations, and over two dozen literary anthologies. Gioia is the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California, where he now teaches, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Trinity Forum. In December 2015 he became the California State Poet Laureate. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and Sonoma County, California.

In particular, his 1991 Atlantic Monthly essay, Can Poetry Matter . He is the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University.

In particular, his 1991 Atlantic Monthly essay, Can Poetry Matter?, argues that poetry has lost its central status in contemporary culture. The essay generated so much feedback that he later turned it into a book of the same title, which was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California and lives in both Los Angeles and Sonoma County. In 2015, Gioia was named Poet Laureate of California.

In 1991, Dana Gioia's provocative essay "Can Poetry Matter?" was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and received more public response than any other piece in the magazine's history. In his book, Gioia more fully addressed the question: Is there a place for poetry to be part of modern American mainstream culture? Ten years later, the debate is as lively and heated as ever. Graywolf is pleased to re-issue this highly acclaimed collection in a handsome new edition, which includes a new Introduction by distinguished critic and poet, Dana Gioia.

Comments: (6)
Zovaithug
The title essay generated a furore when "Atlantic Monthly" published it in 1991. It prompted more mail than any article the "Atlantic" had published in decades, some of it hate mail from university writing programs. The gist of the essay was that American poetry had been taken over by the academy, and that it was increasingly austere and sterile and its audience increasingly insular and stuffy. The following quote captures the tone of Gioia's verdict: "Like subsidized farming that grows food no one wants, a poetry industry has been created to serve the interests of the producers and not the consumers. And in the process the integrity of the art has been betrayed." Couple this with his observation that when today's poets are introduced, the first question they ask is "Where do you teach?", and his repeating of Cyril Connolly's quip that "poets arguing about modern poetry [is like] jackals snarling over a dried-up well," and you can understand why so many poets ensconced in the halls of academia got their noses out of joint.

I subscribed to "Atlantic Monthly" back in 1991, but the brouhaha that Gioia created never registered with me. Back then I didn't read or care about contemporary poetry; I was one of the many who had been completely alienated by it. In retirement, however, I have been exploring poetry, both modern and more traditional, a program that led me to this book, CAN POETRY MATTER? It was first published in 1992. This is the second edition, from 2002, with a retrospective introduction by Gioia looking back on that 1991"Atlantic Monthly" essay. As of 2002, he sees some positive developments and reasons for hope in the American poetry world. He surely is more knowledgeable than I, but reading the stuff that appears in "The New Yorker" and the few literary journals I occasionally look at, I'm not so sure. (Ironically, in 1991 Gioia made his primary living outside the academy, as a marketing executive with General Foods; now he is Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at the University of Southern California.)

Even though most of the contents of the book are now over a quarter century old, I found it quite worthwhile. Gioia is confident of his critical judgments and he doesn't pull punches. He seems to have perspective. Rare for a writer on poetry and poets, he avoids being ponderous. His prose is lucid and for the most part lively, although it is a tad wordy and the relative sameness of voice and style, when encountered in a collection of essays, is a trifle wearying.

The pieces in CAN POETRY MATTER? fall in three categories. First, there are the essays on general matters relating to poetry: the title essay, a piece on the disappearance of long poems, two essays on "the New Formalism", and one on "Business and Poetry", exploring why it is that so little of American poetry is about the business world in which so much of America works. I found four of these essays well worth my reading time, especially "Notes on the New Formalism", where Gioia's discussion of formal versus free verse is perhaps the most cogent and helpful I have encountered on that topic. Then there are essays of moderate length about the following American poets: Robinson Jeffers, Weldon Kees, Ted Kooser, Wallace Stevens, T. S. Eliot, Robert Bly, Howard Moss, Donald Justice, and Elizabeth Bishop. Again, most were well worth reading, and two of them introduced me to poets I want to sample (Kooser and Justice). Finally, there are eight short (one- to three-page) reviews of specific books of American poetry.
Kulafyn
This is a very engrossing, engaging, and insightful discussion of the place of poetry in our culture and of the most important poets writing it. He discusses the effects of the current fast pace of our lives and how that has encouraged the writing of shorter poems with the loss of the enrichment and power of the longer narrative poem. His essay on Ted Kooser, one of my very favorite poets is superb. This is a must read.
Frdi
This book is quite accessible and encourages even casual readers of poetry to read modern poetry. With the poetry from this author and from the many more like him who are reviewed in the book, while I have no hope that the boy that driveth the plow might begin to read poetry, I can dream of a day when even hardened sea captains might again name their ships after characters and ideas they gain from poetry.
I was most encouraged.
Syleazahad
The title essay in this book is by far the most important. It's well worth at least checking this book out from a library just to read that first essay. As a poet in an MFA program, I am currently experiencing the severance from the rest of society and alienation from literary criticism that Gioia describes so well. He's right on target. I'm not sure about some of his prescriptions for moving poetry back into public interest (i.e. reading from the work of other poets at one of your own readings), but the fact that he is able to articulate poetry's problems so well should at least get writers thinking about our own solutions. Incidentally, the rest of the essays do decline in quality through the course of the book, but I nevertheless found the final essay on New Formalism worthwhile. I actually didn't know much about the movement other than some mildly disparaging remarks made by various professors during workshop, so Gioia's perspective was refreshing.
Gathris
DOES POETRY MATTER? YES! Yes! Yes! Without poetry, I may have ended up like Plath, Sexton, Woolf, or who the hell knows! Poetry nutured me, comforted me, fed me, loved me......the flowing words of Oliver, Gluck, Lee, Keats, and yes, Sylvia Plath's gorgeous confessional poetry-- entered my mind and body like a medicine of vowels, syllables, metaphor, and music.

Dana Gioia's book "Does Poetry Matter," was an eye opener.

"People who support the arts, who attend foreign films and serious

theater, opera, symphony, and dance; who read quality fiction

and biographies,; who listen to public radio and subscibe to the

best jounals. (They are the parents who read poetry to their

children and remember, once upon a time in college or high

school or kindergarten, liking it themselves.) No one knows

the size of this community, but even if on acceps the con-

servative estimate that it accounts for only TWO PERCENT of the

United States."---CAN POETRY MATTER?

This blew my socks off! I realized I was in the minority, but this is completely unbelievable. Is poetry really dead? If so, I am mourning her exisistence. "In a better world, poetry would need no justification beyond the sheer splendor of its own existence."

Does Poetry Matter? Yes! But we need to make poetry available to everybody, not only the intellectual, rich, and culturally fortunate---We need to make the words mean something for everybody, everywhere. Dana Gioia continues speaking of the intellectual community as though they are the the chosen few; the saviors of lost verse; the people who can resurrect the promised land...

But isn't this the reason poety has died in the first place?--because the aloofness of the so-called "True Poet" will not allow anybody else inside their worlds; that being the world of intellectualism and academia.

They say that poetry is dead. I don't believe it! I wont believe it! But if Gioia thinks that the only people who can possibly appreciate poetry are the literary intellectuals, he is dead wrong. Gioia says, "These conventions may once have made sense, but today they imprison poetry in an intellectual ghetto."

THE GHETTO!!---Yes!! a perfect place to begin displaying the words of Li-Young Lee, E.E. Cummings, Anne Sexton, Robert Bly, etc...

Lets get out there--and change the world for everybody with words, color, metaphor, similie, rhythum... I don't give a damn if they can interpet it or understand it---Just read it! Love it! Appreciate it! And allow the vocabulary to pour through your body like liquid music!