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Coming After: Essays on Poetry

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Coming After gathers critical pieces by acclaimed poet Alice Notley, author of Mysteries of Small Houses and Disobedience. Notley explores the work of second-generation New York School poets and their allies: Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Joanne Kyger, Ron Padgett, Lorenzo Thomas, and others. These essays and reviews are among the first to deal with a generation of poets noto Coming After gathers critical pieces by acclaimed poet Alice Notley, author of Mysteries of Small Houses and Disobedience. Notley explores the work of second-generation New York School poets and their allies: Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Joanne Kyger, Ron Padgett, Lorenzo Thomas, and others. These essays and reviews are among the first to deal with a generation of poets notorious for their refusal to criticize and theorize, assuming the stance that "only the poems matter." The essays are characterized by Notley's strong, compelling voice, which transfixes the reader even in the midst of professional detail. Coming After revives the possibility of the readable book of criticism.


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Coming After gathers critical pieces by acclaimed poet Alice Notley, author of Mysteries of Small Houses and Disobedience. Notley explores the work of second-generation New York School poets and their allies: Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Joanne Kyger, Ron Padgett, Lorenzo Thomas, and others. These essays and reviews are among the first to deal with a generation of poets noto Coming After gathers critical pieces by acclaimed poet Alice Notley, author of Mysteries of Small Houses and Disobedience. Notley explores the work of second-generation New York School poets and their allies: Ted Berrigan, Anne Waldman, Joanne Kyger, Ron Padgett, Lorenzo Thomas, and others. These essays and reviews are among the first to deal with a generation of poets notorious for their refusal to criticize and theorize, assuming the stance that "only the poems matter." The essays are characterized by Notley's strong, compelling voice, which transfixes the reader even in the midst of professional detail. Coming After revives the possibility of the readable book of criticism.

30 review for Coming After: Essays on Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Zack

    This book hit me hard. Really got me questioning my writing practice in a good way. The first 2/3rds are very good. She writes about poets and reviews their work. About half the poets I had heard of and they other half I hadn't. Her writing about poetry is so engaging that even when she wrote about poets that I hadn't read or heard of, I was still digging it. And I plan to check out some of these folks now. The last 1/3rd of the book though, is where things start to get really crazy in a good way This book hit me hard. Really got me questioning my writing practice in a good way. The first 2/3rds are very good. She writes about poets and reviews their work. About half the poets I had heard of and they other half I hadn't. Her writing about poetry is so engaging that even when she wrote about poets that I hadn't read or heard of, I was still digging it. And I plan to check out some of these folks now. The last 1/3rd of the book though, is where things start to get really crazy in a good way. She writes largely about her practice. My second favorite essay in the book is "American Poetic Music at the Moment." I was impressed that she was writing so interestingly about poetic rhythm. This is a subject that fascinates me but the writing I'd seen about it before was so jargony and technical that I found it tedious. Notley writes in a very clear way about the subject. By far my favorite essay in the book is "Thinking and Poetry." It killed me. Here's an excerpt: "Then what am I buying right now? This is the question everyone should be asking all the time, What am I buying, in terms of thoughts and ideas, from others? What are the parts if my reasoning I'm not sure of, but tell myself I am? Am I thinking at all, or am I producing masses of 'style' containing a few 'hits,' just creating a sort of verbal environment? Or letting whatever language comes out of me do its work...new things said, meanings, a wash of, oh, created life. As I myself became a more sophisticated stylist, the temptation simply to verbalize, to make or show off, became stronger. A lot of the time I just wrote stuff, still do. Sometimes that's how I open the door to the next phase of my writing. I used to think it was all publishable as a record of mind of consciousness; I don't think so now, am not interested in work that doesn't have a clear rational shape as well as the pleasure and truth that come from more mysterious depths. I don't want to become the automatic part of me, I want to automatic part of me to become me. That is, I trust my conscious self. I don't like the world outside my door very much but the best of myself is awake and clear. The 'I' I most prefer sits serenely and somewhat numinously behind my personality, behind a sort of window, watching the chaotic and distressing events of the world. I can't often act as that one but it's the one I most really am. The automatic or unconscious is a gas, as we used to say, and may know a lot too; but a lot of it is stuff that has to be organized."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    A nice collection of critical essays and some thoughts on poetics.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    How can a poetics of doubt not result in bonsai-small or annoyingly humble poetry? How can one avoid simply telling a modish truth with their poems? (You know what I mean.) Notley knows! Read Notley's essays "Voice" and "Thinking in Poetry": they had a comet-splash effect on my poor half-guided poetry-self; I wish I'd read them in my first year as a writer: I would have wasted way less time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    Is there a way on Goodreads to mark a book as something you'll read and re-read? I got this on vacation a few years ago and read it three times before I returned home. O'Hara, Padgett, Kyger and much more. And some of her best thoughts.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J Chritsian

    Great, wonderfully approachable essays on a shitload of poets I'm excited to learn more about. I was expecting this book to be a lot more mean and showy based on Notley's poetry! But it's not! It's not.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    A poet's must-have.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Page

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kit

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bloof Books

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

  13. 5 out of 5

    John

  14. 4 out of 5

    flowerville

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Theis

  17. 5 out of 5

    evan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  19. 4 out of 5

    vi macdonald

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jordan

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cara

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bob Cat

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimbers W

  27. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Derek Fenner

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  30. 4 out of 5

    James Eidson

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