Beyond the Muse of Memory
Essays on Contemporary American Poets
AUTHOR: Lieberman, Laurence
PUBLISHER: University of Missouri Press
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With stunningly precise formal, biographical, and cultural analysis, Laurence Lieberman turns his critical eye to American poets and confirms his prodigious talent not only as a narrative poet, but as a critic and essayist as well. What Lieberman aspires to do in Beyond the Muse of Memory, a collection of new and previously published essays, is to send the reader back to major poets for a fresh look and to neglected artists for close study.
The phrase "Beyond the Muse of Memory" comes from the title essay on Robert Lowell and is significant to Lieberman because it reflects his belief that Lowell created "a whole new ars poetica in his last phase" by having written about and moved beyond his memories of the horrors in his own life. The phrase is also significant in that it best describes the author's own approach in this collection: in his words, these essays "make no pretense to an overview of contemporary American poetry, but rather highlight my own experience as a reader and interpreter. The essayists I most emulate are those whose writings tend to be personal and instinctively charged."
Lieberman's new studies of Robert Lowell illuminate the poems of Lowell's final period, "a sector of his work that has been wrongly undervalued by many of his critics." Other essays that have never before appeared in book form on James Dickey, Robert Penn Warren, and Stephen Berg are gathered here with Lieberman's best and best-known earlier essays on W. S. Merwin, Mark Strand, Derek Walcott, James Wright, and William Stafford, to name a few.
Beyond the Muse of Memory is a volume all serious students and readers of contemporary poetry will appreciate.
PUBLICATION DATE: 12/1/1995
CATEGORY: Literary Criticism, Poetry