Conversation Pieces



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To write a poem is to become part of a great conversation with ones literary predecessors, but the poems in this anthology are a special breed, their authors deliberately addressing a particular poem or poet of the past or present. They may be replies, reproofs, updatings, acts of sabotage or adulation; they may argue with, elaborate upon, poke fun at, or pay tribute to their originals. From Raleighs famous answer to Marlowes Passionate Shepherd, to Anthony Hechts The Dover Bitch, from Ogden Nash sending up Byron to Mona Van Duyn giving us Ledas perspective on the swan or Annie Finchs Coy Mistress arguing her case with Marvell, these remarkable poems are not only engaging in themselves, but also capable of casting surprising new light on the poems which inspired them. Thisconversation of the greats includes Philip Larkin replying to Sir Philip Sidney, Ezra Pound to Edmund Waller, Randell Jarrell to W.H. Auden, Denise Levertov to Wordsworth, Galway Kinnell to Rilke, David Lehmann to Pound, C.K. Williams to Coleridge – and many more.

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