True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell Under the Sign of Eliot and Pound

Christopher B. Ricks, Author
Christopher B. Ricks, Author Yale University Press $28 (258p) ISBN 978-0-300-13429-2
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In his latest, noted literary critic and Boston University professor Ricks (Dylan's Visions of Sin) makes a thorough, thoughtful examination of the web of influence connecting poets Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht, and Robert Lowell with two of their most iconic predecessors, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Using as a jumping-off point William Blake's idea that ""opposition is true friendship,"" Ricks's collection of critical essays investigates the notion that three of the postwar era's most significant poets were engaged in an ever-evolving creative conversation with Eliot and Pound. This ""conversation"" often manifested itself as influence and homage, but just as often emerged as a struggle by the next generation of poets to free themselves of artistic constraints while living and creating in the shadows of giants. Dissecting their creative relationships, Ricks analyzes each poet's work through the prism of those who came before and after, offering clear and insightful analyses of representative selections from the oeuvre of each. Though perceptive and scholarly, Ricks is also entertaining and personable, and never lets his obvious affection for his subjects cloud his judgment.
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