A Brighter Word Than Bright: Keats at Work

Dan Beachy-Quick. Univ. of Iowa, $24 (190p) ISBN 978-1-60938-184-4
In this immensely pleasurable study, poet Beachy-Quick (Circle’s Apprentice) chronicles the last five years of Romantic poet John Keats’s life, focusing on the poet’s work. Beachy-Quick effortlessly subverts the standards of conventional literary biography, weaving together critical analysis, excerpts from Keats’s poems, and his own thoughts on Keats’s relationship to his writing. Covering the years 1816–1820, this slim volume is divided into chapters on subjects such as “Indolence-Ambition-Imagination” and “Eros” as they applied to Keats’s work at the time in question. Intermixed with these are “portraits” of Keats at different stages, focusing on his experiences and creative process. Beachy-Quick holds true to his poetic sensibilities, and his sentences ring gorgeous and complex on nearly every page: “The poet is one who from perfection learns quickly to flee. Perfection—the advice that guides one towards it, and worse, the questions that garner such advice—privileges a world-like system over a system-breaking world.” Though at times the material reads as too dense or esoteric, Beachy-Quick contributes new insights on a much-ruminated-upon literary figure, and through his beautiful prose, provides fresh ideas on creativity and genius. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/15/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 185 pages - 978-1-60938-204-9
Paperback - 190 pages - 978-1-60938-339-8
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