Cover image for A poetry of two minds
A poetry of two minds
Santos, Sherod, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Athens : University of Georgia Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 190 pages ; 21 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS323.5 .S26 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this book of prose, poet and essayist Sherod Santos takes a look into some of poetry's deepest secrets, an investigation that leads him to the conclusion that poems have minds of their own, minds often inaccessible even to the one who composed them. In these essays, the author explores not only what he thinks about poetry but also what and how poetry thinks about itself. His writings range across the history of Western poetry, from formative classical myths to modern experimental forms, and touch on subjects as diverse as the rhetorical history of cannibalism, the political and cultural uses of translation, and the current state of American poetry. Along the way, he calls on past poets like Ovid, Baudelaire, and Phyllis Wheatley, on 20th-century poets like Wallace Stevens, H.D. and Rainer Maria Rilke, and on writers and thinkers like Montaigne, Walter Benjamin, Simone Weil and Paul de Man. These essays explore facets of poetry known best to one who has practised the art for years. From the methods of poetic attention to the processes by which perception is transformed into language and from the illusive relationships between poetry and ""meaning"" to the integral relationship between poetry and memory, this collection delves into what it means to be a poet and how being a poet is intimately tied to one's social and cultural moment.

Author Notes

Sherod Santos is the author of four volumes of poetry, most recently The Pilot Star Elegies , which was nominated for the National Book Award. In 1999 he received an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Santos (English, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia) received a National Book Award nomination for The Pilot Star Elegies (LJ 6/1/99). In this engaging collection of critical essays, his first book of prose, Santos explores a wide range of Western poetic forms and themes, including the art of literary translation and the intrinsic connection between poetry and memory. Assembling subjects as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, Percy Shelley, and Phillis Wheatley, the author manages to infuse his discussion of well-known poets with new ideas. Much of the book is devoted to 20th-century American poets, such as Robinson Jeffers, who was Santos!s boyhood inspiration, and Elizabeth Bishop, whose work is hailed by the author as most nearly approaching the idea and the ideal of the perfectible poem. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries, both for the useful content and the economical price tag."Ellen Sullivan, Ferguson Lib., Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

The publisher announces Santos's collection as a "long-awaited" book that "takes a compelling look into some of poetry's deepest secrets," as "extraordinary," and as "astonishing." This reviewer begs to differ. There is nothing extraordinary about a poet-professor collecting his book reviews and festival orations. This volume does what any modest volume of essays does: it makes a few good points, wanders into unexpected places, and indulges the reader with sometimes useful asides. In short, it is on the whole a pleasant book. To his credit, Santos (Univ. of Missouri, Columbia) does not go in for the rhetorical overkill of the cover. Beginning undergraduate poetry collections. D. A. Barton; California State University, Long Beach