The Line Forms Here

David Lehman, Author University of Michigan Press $16.95 (264p) ISBN 978-0-472-06483-0
Newsweek, Parnassus, scholarly university press anthologies--the range of publications where these reviews, essays and miscellaneous pieces first appeared reflects Lehman's ( Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man ) versatility as a critic of contemporary poetry. Writing about literature for so varied and wide an audience--``a wider audience than is presumed to exist for it''--has led Lehman to declare ``that poetry has not been, as the academics say, fatally `marginalized.' '' This both cheers the lover of poetry and enlivens even Lehman's most scholarly writing with a welcomed sense of freshness. Considering A. R. Ammons's innovative use of punctuation, Lehman notes: ``the colon looks both ways before crossing over to the far side of the street.'' John Hollander's mode of allusion ``acts very much like an inspired typo.'' All the more disappointing then are Lehman's occasional professorial crankiness over supposedly dropping standards and his apparent adherence to the canon of poets handed down by academics: Ashbery, Merrill, Bishop. In the rapping, poetry-slamming, small-press world of the '90s, they are only part of poetry's story. (June)
Reviewed on: 08/17/1992
Release date: 08/01/1992
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-0-472-09483-7
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