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Dancing at the Devil's Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics, and the Erotic

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This volume of essays celebrates poetry that aims to change the world, whether through engagement with political issues, reimagining the meanings of love, recasting our relationship with nature; or through new relationships with our spiritual traditions. Alicia Ostriker's opening essay, defining the difference between poetry and propaganda, surveys the artistic accomplishm This volume of essays celebrates poetry that aims to change the world, whether through engagement with political issues, reimagining the meanings of love, recasting our relationship with nature; or through new relationships with our spiritual traditions. Alicia Ostriker's opening essay, defining the difference between poetry and propaganda, surveys the artistic accomplishments of the women's poetry movement. Succeeding essays explore the meaning of politics, love, and the spiritual life in the work of Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, Lucille Clifton, and Allen Ginsberg. In her work, Ostriker can be controversial, as when she attacks the academic establishment for rejecting the erotic dimension of poetry, or when she meditates on the significance of the black poet Lucille Clifton to herself as a reader, or when she argues that Allen Ginsberg's "Howl"--famous as the primary poem of the Beat Generation--is also a profoundly Jewish poem. Yet her writing is always lively and readable, free of academic jargon, inviting the reader to enjoy a wide range of poetic styles and experiences. Ostriker's criticism, like her poetry, is both feminist and deeply humane. These essays on American poetry will appeal to students of poetry, scholars of American literature, and anyone who enjoys the work of the poets discussed in the book. Alicia Ostriker is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Imaginary Lover, which won the William Carlos Williams Award and The Crack in Everything, which was a National Book award finalist in 1996, and which received the Paterson Prize in 1997 and the San Fransisco State Poetry Center Award in 1998. She is Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University.


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This volume of essays celebrates poetry that aims to change the world, whether through engagement with political issues, reimagining the meanings of love, recasting our relationship with nature; or through new relationships with our spiritual traditions. Alicia Ostriker's opening essay, defining the difference between poetry and propaganda, surveys the artistic accomplishm This volume of essays celebrates poetry that aims to change the world, whether through engagement with political issues, reimagining the meanings of love, recasting our relationship with nature; or through new relationships with our spiritual traditions. Alicia Ostriker's opening essay, defining the difference between poetry and propaganda, surveys the artistic accomplishments of the women's poetry movement. Succeeding essays explore the meaning of politics, love, and the spiritual life in the work of Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Bishop, Sharon Olds, Maxine Kumin, Lucille Clifton, and Allen Ginsberg. In her work, Ostriker can be controversial, as when she attacks the academic establishment for rejecting the erotic dimension of poetry, or when she meditates on the significance of the black poet Lucille Clifton to herself as a reader, or when she argues that Allen Ginsberg's "Howl"--famous as the primary poem of the Beat Generation--is also a profoundly Jewish poem. Yet her writing is always lively and readable, free of academic jargon, inviting the reader to enjoy a wide range of poetic styles and experiences. Ostriker's criticism, like her poetry, is both feminist and deeply humane. These essays on American poetry will appeal to students of poetry, scholars of American literature, and anyone who enjoys the work of the poets discussed in the book. Alicia Ostriker is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Imaginary Lover, which won the William Carlos Williams Award and The Crack in Everything, which was a National Book award finalist in 1996, and which received the Paterson Prize in 1997 and the San Fransisco State Poetry Center Award in 1998. She is Distinguished Professor of English at Rutgers University.

34 review for Dancing at the Devil's Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics, and the Erotic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Gerry LaFemina

    Ostriker--a poet I admire heartily--writes about the poets she admires with a scholar's acumen and a poet's intuition. Lovely and smart, it gives us as much insight about Ostriker the poet as it does Ostriker the reader of poetry. Ostriker--a poet I admire heartily--writes about the poets she admires with a scholar's acumen and a poet's intuition. Lovely and smart, it gives us as much insight about Ostriker the poet as it does Ostriker the reader of poetry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  3. 4 out of 5

    Issa

  4. 5 out of 5

    Beth Marzoni

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  6. 4 out of 5

    José Gouveia

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessie McMains

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Peterson

  9. 4 out of 5

    J.D.

  10. 4 out of 5

    The Great Mother Conference

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dsf

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura Wiseman

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn O

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeannine

  15. 5 out of 5

    Doralee Brooks

  16. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tara Betts

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lea

  19. 5 out of 5

    Victor

  20. 4 out of 5

    Renee Alberts

  21. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  22. 5 out of 5

    Poetrylover

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Lynn

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aviva Gabriel

  26. 5 out of 5

    Faisal Al-therwi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Liv Lansdale

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sheindal

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alisha

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abby

  31. 5 out of 5

    Aubry

  32. 4 out of 5

    Tracie Morell

  33. 5 out of 5

    Nymphadora Remus

  34. 4 out of 5

    Terry Everett

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