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That Self-Forgetful Perfectly Useless Concentration (Paperback) (Alan Shapiro)

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More than a gathering of essays, That Self-Forgetful Perfectly Useless Concentration” is part memoir, part literary criticism, and a thorough and artful fusion of the two. It is an intimate portrait of a life in poetry that few other than Shapiro could have written. In this book, Shapiro brings his characteristic warmth, humor, and many years as both poet and teacher to bear on questions that revolve around the paradox that self-expression depends on impersonal conventions, inert public signs that, somehow, under the pressure of the imagination, personalize the conventional and socialize the personal. Through his now signature storytelling, and close readings ranging from Mungo Jerry to T. S. Eliot, from Lawrence Ferlinghetti to Emily Dickinson, from William Carlos Williams and Bob Dylan to Mark Twain, from Thomas Hardy to Philip Larkin, Donald Davie, Thom Gunn and many moreShapiro shows just how interdependent innovation and tradition truly are. He shows that many of the dichotomies that dominate discussions of poetry and art (e.g., openness and closure, form and individuality, feeling and thought, reason and imagination) are mutually entailing, not mutually exclusive. These larger, public issues themselves are filtered through Shapiro’s personal experience of growing up and coming of age as a poet in the 1960s and 70s and the poetry scenes in Boston and San Francisco. The book includes touching and instructive essays on art, writing, mental illness, and the death of friends, along with astute readings of poems we all thought we knew well. Poignant, astute, and often very funny, Shapiro has created something unique, in the words of one reader, a memoir about poetry itself.”
Number of Pages: 186
Genre: Literary Criticism, Biography + Autobiography
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: Alan Shapiro
Language: English
Street Date: November 1, 2016
TCIN: 51505613
UPC: 9780226416953
Item Number (DPCI): 248-22-2080
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