cover image The Castle of Indolence: On Poetry, Poets, and Poetasters

The Castle of Indolence: On Poetry, Poets, and Poetasters

Thomas M. Disch / Author Picador USA $21 (229p) ISBN 978-0-312

A poetry critic of the first rank, novelist and poet Disch takes a look at the contemporary American poetry scene in this collection of essays and reviews. He calls for ``the disestablishment of poetry workshops as an academic institution,'' arguing that they encourage indolence, smugness and a special sense of entitlement. Disch provides astute takes on Kenneth Koch (``some of the most pulverized poetry in the English language''), Kathleen Raine's wrestling with the Neoplatonic angel of her soul and the minimalist verse-novels of Mark Jarman and David Budbill. Along with perceptive critiques of Anthony Hecht, John Ashbery, Rita Dove, Kenneth Fearing, Galway Kinnell and Marilyn Hacker, he appraises Frederick Turner's neglected science-fiction dystopian epic poem, ``The New World'' (1985), and ponders the cautionary tale of ``beatnik guru'' Charles Olson, whose ``professional life was one long applications grant.'' (Sept.)