Cover image for Poetry and the fate of the senses
Title:
Poetry and the fate of the senses
Author:
Stewart, Susan, (Susan A.), 1952-
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xi, 447 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780226774138

9780226774145
Format :
Book

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Status
Central Library PN1356 .S74 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

What is the role of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry? How does poetry carry on the long tradition of making experience and suffering understood by others? With Poetry and the Fate of the Senses , Susan Stewart traces the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture. The task of poetry, she tells us, is to counter the loneliness of the mind, or to help it glean, out of the darkness of solitude, the outline of others. Poetry, she contends, makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity. It sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence.

Herself an acclaimed poet, Stewart not only brings the intelligence of a critic to the question of poetry, but the insight of a practitioner as well. Her new study draws on reading from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns to explain how poetry creates meanings between persons. Poetry and the Fate of the Senses includes close discussions of poems by Stevens, Hopkins, Keats, Hardy, Bishop, and Traherne, of the sense of vertigo in Baroque and Romantic works, and of the rich tradition of nocturnes in visual, musical, and verbal art. Ultimately, Stewart explores the pivotal role of poetry in contemporary culture. She argues that poetry can counter the denigration of the senses and can expand our imagination of the range of human expression.

Poetry and the Fate of the Senses won the 2004 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin, administered for the Truman Capote Estate by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. It also won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2002 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism.


Summary

What is the role of the senses in the creation and reception of poetry? How does poetry carry on the long tradition of making experience and suffering understood by others? With Poetry and the Fate of the Senses , Susan Stewart traces the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture. The task of poetry, she tells us, is to counter the loneliness of the mind, or to help it glean, out of the darkness of solitude, the outline of others. Poetry, she contends, makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity. It sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence.

Herself an acclaimed poet, Stewart not only brings the intelligence of a critic to the question of poetry, but the insight of a practitioner as well. Her new study draws on reading from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns to explain how poetry creates meanings between persons. Poetry and the Fate of the Senses includes close discussions of poems by Stevens, Hopkins, Keats, Hardy, Bishop, and Traherne, of the sense of vertigo in Baroque and Romantic works, and of the rich tradition of nocturnes in visual, musical, and verbal art. Ultimately, Stewart explores the pivotal role of poetry in contemporary culture. She argues that poetry can counter the denigration of the senses and can expand our imagination of the range of human expression.

Poetry and the Fate of the Senses won the 2004 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin, administered for the Truman Capote Estate by the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. It also won the Phi Beta Kappa Society's 2002 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism.


Author Notes

Susan Stewart is the Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and a MacArthur Fellow. She is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Forest, as well as many works of literary and art criticism, including On Longing and Crimes of Writing.


Susan Stewart is the Regan Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and a MacArthur Fellow. She is the author of three books of poems, most recently The Forest, as well as many works of literary and art criticism, including On Longing and Crimes of Writing.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

"The historical body of poetic forms is more and more an archive of lost sensual experiences the sound of wind in uninhabited spaces; the weight of ripe things not yet harvested." In Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, poet and critic Susan Stewart (On Longing) tracks poetry's sensual engagements, drawing on a truly incredible number of classical and modern canonical texts to show how poetry constructs its peculiar phenomenologies. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Stewart, a poet, professor, and MacArthur Fellow, ambitiously traces "the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture." In a book much like Burke's On the Sublime or Kant's Observations on the Sublime, Stewart tacks from darkness and grief to sound, poetic voice, lyric possession, the deictic now (measure and time), and the nocturne. She contends that poetry "makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity," that it "sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence." Drawing from many examples of poetry, from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns, she explores the interplay between somatic apprehensions (sound, listening, touch, vertigo) and formal orders. Both physically and poetically big, this book is recommended for those studying the metaphysics of poetry. Scott Hightower, Fordham Univ., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

"The historical body of poetic forms is more and more an archive of lost sensual experiences the sound of wind in uninhabited spaces; the weight of ripe things not yet harvested." In Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, poet and critic Susan Stewart (On Longing) tracks poetry's sensual engagements, drawing on a truly incredible number of classical and modern canonical texts to show how poetry constructs its peculiar phenomenologies. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Stewart, a poet, professor, and MacArthur Fellow, ambitiously traces "the path of the aesthetic in search of an explanation for the role of poetry in our culture." In a book much like Burke's On the Sublime or Kant's Observations on the Sublime, Stewart tacks from darkness and grief to sound, poetic voice, lyric possession, the deictic now (measure and time), and the nocturne. She contends that poetry "makes tangible, visible, and audible the contours of our shared humanity," that it "sustains and transforms the threshold between individual and social existence." Drawing from many examples of poetry, from the ancient Greeks to the postmoderns, she explores the interplay between somatic apprehensions (sound, listening, touch, vertigo) and formal orders. Both physically and poetically big, this book is recommended for those studying the metaphysics of poetry. Scott Hightower, Fordham Univ., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chapter 1 In the Darkness
I. The Privations of Night and the Origins of Poiesisp. 1
II. Laughter, Weeping, and the Order of the Sensesp. 17
III. The Lyric Eidosp. 38
Chapter 2 Sound
I. Dynamics of Poetic Soundp. 59
II. Hopkins: Invocation and Listeningp. 90
Chapter 3 Voice and Possession
I. The Beloved's Voicep. 107
II. Three Cases of Lyric Possessionp. 124
Chapter 4 Facing, Touch, and Vertigo
I. The Experience of Beholdingp. 145
II. Touch in Aesthetic Formsp. 160
III. Vertigo: The Legacy of Baroque Ecstasyp. 178
Chapter 5 The Forms and Numbers of Time
I. The Deictic Nowp. 197
II. Traces of Human Motion: The Ubi Sunt Traditionp. 208
III. Meditation and Number: Traherne's Centuriesp. 227
IV. The Problem of Poetic Historyp. 242
Chapter 6 Out of the Darkness: Nocturnes
I. Finch's Transformation of the Night Workp. 255
II. The Emergence of a Nocturne Traditionp. 280
Chapter 7 Lyric Counter Epic
I. War and the Alienation of the Sensesp. 293
II. Two Lyric Critiques of Epic: Brooks and Walcottp. 309
Afterbornp. 327
Notesp. 335
Referencesp. 389
Index of Poemsp. 429
General Indexp. 433
Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chapter 1 In the Darkness
I. The Privations of Night and the Origins of Poiesisp. 1
II. Laughter, Weeping, and the Order of the Sensesp. 17
III. The Lyric Eidosp. 38
Chapter 2 Sound
I. Dynamics of Poetic Soundp. 59
II. Hopkins: Invocation and Listeningp. 90
Chapter 3 Voice and Possession
I. The Beloved's Voicep. 107
II. Three Cases of Lyric Possessionp. 124
Chapter 4 Facing, Touch, and Vertigo
I. The Experience of Beholdingp. 145
II. Touch in Aesthetic Formsp. 160
III. Vertigo: The Legacy of Baroque Ecstasyp. 178
Chapter 5 The Forms and Numbers of Time
I. The Deictic Nowp. 197
II. Traces of Human Motion: The Ubi Sunt Traditionp. 208
III. Meditation and Number: Traherne's Centuriesp. 227
IV. The Problem of Poetic Historyp. 242
Chapter 6 Out of the Darkness: Nocturnes
I. Finch's Transformation of the Night Workp. 255
II. The Emergence of a Nocturne Traditionp. 280
Chapter 7 Lyric Counter Epic
I. War and the Alienation of the Sensesp. 293
II. Two Lyric Critiques of Epic: Brooks and Walcottp. 309
Afterbornp. 327
Notesp. 335
Referencesp. 389
Index of Poemsp. 429
General Indexp. 433

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