Poetry & Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary

Joan Retallack, Editor, Juliana Spahr, Editor Palgrave MacMillan $85 (314p) ISBN 978-1-4039-6912-5
Spahr, author of Response and This Connection of Everybody with Lungs, among other books, is one the leading poets of her generation. She teams here with Retallack (Memnoir, etc.) to collect 22 essays that, from differing perspectives, tackle a problem that has been around at least as long as modernism: how to make a place for ""difficult"" poetry in the classroom, and in the culture at large. Charles Bernstein's approach is refreshingly literal: he has devised a ""Poem Profiler""-a set of 10 major categories with 125 ""features"" with which one might start to get a handle on a seemingly opaque work. Lytle Shaw (Cable Factory 20) looks to ""didactic literature"" for a critique of models of pedagogical authority by way of Goethe. Harryette Mullen (Sleeping with the Dictionary), borrowing her title, looks ""Between Jihad and McWorld"" for ""A Place for Poetry."" Coming out of a seminar held at the Bard College (where Retallack is professor of humanities), this collection can serve as a theoretical (and sometimes practical) rudder for any reader who feels at sea in contemporary verse.
Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 02/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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