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After the Death of Poetry: Poet and Audience in Contemporary America
by Vernon Shetley
Duke University Press, 1993
Paper: 978-0-8223-1342-7 | Cloth: 978-0-8223-1325-0 | eISBN: 978-0-8223-9949-0
Library of Congress Classification PS323.5.S53 1993
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.5409

In this deft analysis, Vernon Shetley shows how writers and readers of poetry, operating under very different conventions and expectations, have drifted apart, stranding the once-vital poetic enterprise on the distant margins of contemporary culture. Along with a clear understanding of where American poetry stands and how it got there, After the Death of Poetry offers a compelling set of prescriptions for its future, prescriptions that might enable the art to regain its lost stature in our intellectual life.
In exemplary case studies, Shetley identifies the very different ways in which three postwar poets—Elizabeth Bishop, James Merrill, and John Ashbery—try to restore some of the challenge and risk that characterized modernist poetry's relation to its first readers. Sure to be controversial, this cogent analysis offers poets and readers a clear sense of direction and purpose, and so, the hope of reaching each other again.

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