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Friday, March 11, 2005

A Word Association Test

by Gilbert Wesley Purdy

Words Brushed by Music ed. by John T. Irwin.
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
200 pp. $12.95 paper. ISBN 0-8018-8029-7. $27.50
hardcover. ISBN 0-8018-8028-9.

In 1979, while the poetry world as a whole was marching with ever greater determination towards quote-unquote free verse and one or another variation of anti-poetry, Johns Hopkins University Press staked out its own territory. Its new Poetry Series would provide a haven for poets who had chosen to write the only truly alternative poetry that remained: a poetry which stayed connected to the tradition of the craft. In the words of John T. Irwin, then chair of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars:

This project began with two simple guiding principles: to publish works of poetry […] exhibiting formal excellence and strong emotional appeal and to publish writers at all stages of their careers […]

The series kicked-off with John Hollander’s Blue Wine. (The Fiction Series began every bit as well, in the same year, with Da Vinci’s Bicycle, by Guy Davenport.) A more auspicious beginning can hardly be imagined. Although the names have not always been as recognizable, the level of the poetry has remained high throughout.... [Read complete review.]

Source: Catalyzer Journal.

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