Click Image to Visit the Pecan Grove Press Web Page for Poetry from Paradise Valley


Poetry From Paradise Valley

Pecan Grove Press has released an anthology of poems, a sampling of works published in Valparaiso Poetry Review during its first decade, from the original 1999-2000 volume to the 2009-2010 volume.

Poetry from Paradise Valley includes a stellar roster of 50 poets. Among the contributors are a former Poet Laureate of the United States, a winner of the Griffin International Prize, two Pulitzer Prize winners, two National Book Award winners, two National Book Critics Circle winners, six finalists for the National Book Award, four finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, and a few dozen recipients of other honors, such as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, etc.

Readers are encouraged to visit the Poetry from Paradise Valley page at the publisher's web site, where ordering information about the book can be found.

Best Books of Indiana 2011: Finalist. Judges' Citation: "Poetry from Paradise Valley is an excellent anthology that features world-class poetry, including the work of many artists from the Midwest, such as Jared Carter, Annie Finch, David Baker, and Allison Joseph. It’s an eclectic and always interesting collection where poems on similar themes flow into each other. It showcases the highest caliber of U. S. poetry."
—Indiana Center for the Book, Indiana State Library

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Harold Bloom: The Anxiety of Influence

Harold Bloom, one of our foremost contemporary literary critics, was born on this date (July 11) in 1930. Always an intelligent and insightful commentator who creates compelling arguments that also often can be combative, causing controversy, his analyses of literature and its authors—whether in his influential texts, like The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (1973), or popular books, like The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages (1994)—have initiated valuable ongoing discussions or debates within and outside of academic circles. I know I have frequently found his views interesting and intriguing, even (perhaps, especially) on those occasions when I might disagree with an essay’s premise, its tone, or the critical conclusion drawn.

Since its introduction nearly four decades ago, Bloom’s theory regarding the impact of previous writers on those who follow—the influence of past masters and the accompanying anxiety felt by later authors trying to compete with those predecessors who already have explored all types of human events or emotions—has infiltrated most contemporary conversations about creativity, originality, individuality, imagination, inspiration, imitation, and similarity, especially when judging or comparing works by various figures from different literary periods.

As Bloom explains in The Anxiety of Influence:
Every poem is a misinterpretation of a parent poem. A poem is not an overcoming of anxiety. Poets’ misinterpretations or poems are more drastic than critics’ misinterpretations or criticism, but this is only a difference in degree and not at all in kind. There are no interpretations but only misinterpretations, and so all criticism is prose poetry.

Critics are more or less valuable than other critics only (precisely) as poets are more or less valuable than other poets. For just as a poet must be found by the opening in a precursor poet, so must the critic. The difference is that a critic has more parents. His precursors are poets and critics. But—in truth—so are a poet’s precursors, often and more often as history lengthens.

Poetry is the anxiety of influence, is misprision, is a disciplined perverseness. Poetry is misunderstanding, misinterpretation, misalliance.

Bloom contends that every poem’s composition is the product of “a poet’s melancholy at his lack of priority.” He considers each poem to “arise out of the illusion of freedom, out of a sense of priority being possible.” Therefore, he regards the poem as a result of the mind’s creative process, an invention of the poet's imagination as formed by an accumulation of readings as well as personal experiences. The accomplished poem “is a made thing, and as such is an achieved anxiety.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Harold Bloom is freaking genius.

(& it's author).