Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Poetry History & Criticism. Introduction by Nick Flynn. From 2010 to 2012, Guggenheim Fellow and award-winning poet Lisa Russ Spaar was the poetry editor for the Chronicle of Higher Education's Arts & Academe and Brainstorm blogs, where every Monday she regaled an ever-growing audience with a brief commentary on a poem of her choosing. This book collects the best of these memorable micro-essays, demonstrating how a well-wrought poem speaks to our rich cultural and spiritual life. As the title essay reveals, Spaar's own father believed that "poetry was out to trick him" and in this collection, encompassing a range of crucial poets from the formal to the experimental, Spaar gently and lovingly debunks that notion, showing us the vital place that contemporary poetry can have in the life of the mind. This is an enthralling book for poets and non-poets alike.
"For people who are a bit wary of poetry, this is the perfect antidote: the poems are amazing, and so are Lisa Russ Spaar's short essays. There s a sense of clarity about everything here (not that things aren't complex; not that Lisa's analyses aren't fascinating constructs themselves, insightful and inspiring, though not intimidating.) I'd think anyone who cares about an inner reality that might be somehow communicated nailed; set free; amplified; questioned—would embrace the chance to read poems that elucidate so much about the mind and the heart, and to understand better the urges embodied in the process of constructing a poem, which always speaks from its structure of restraint. I loved every minute of reading this book."—Ann Beattie
"Lisa Russ Spaar has an intense and generous spirit. She loves poetry and honors the people who read and write it. Reading her you remember once again that there's no such thing as a bad poem or a bad reader. Time will tell which ones are better and best. This book follows many roads, some less traveled than others and Lisa has a wonderful eye for the wildflowers elsewhere."—Jerome McGann
Contributors are Kazim Ali, Debra Allbery,Talvikki Ansel, Jennifer Atkinson, David Baker, Jill Bialosky, Suzanne Buffam, Jennifer Chang, Ye Chun, Michael Collier, Randall Couch, Stephen Cushman, Kate Daniels, Kyle Dargan, Claudia Emerson, Monica Ferrell, David Francis, Gabriel Fried, Alice Fulton, Rachel Hadas, Brenda Hillman, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Mark Jarman, Laura Kasischke, Jennifer Key, L. S. Klatt, Joanna Klink, Hank Lazer, Paul Legault, Willie Lin, Maurice Manning, Cate Marvin, Heather McHugh, Erika Meitner, Carol Muske-Dukes, Amy Newman, Meghan O'Rourke, Eric Pankey, Kiki Petrosino, Carl Phillips, John Poch, Bin Ramke, Srikanth Reddy, Michael Rutherglen, Mary Ann Samyn, Philip Schultz, Sarah Schweig, Allison Seay, Ravi Shankar, Ron Slate, R. T. Smith, Larissa Szporluk, Mary Szybist, Brian Teare, William Thompson, David Wojahn, and Charles Wright.
Author City: CHARLOTTESVL, VA USA
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Lisa Russ Spaar is the author of Vanitas, Rough: Poems (2012), Satin Cash (2008), Blue Venus: Poems (2004), all published by Persea Books, and Glass Town: Poems (Red Hen Press, 1999), for which she received a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers in 2000. Twelve of her poems appear in The Land of Wandering: Exquisite History, Volume 1 (The Printmakers Left / University of Virginia Press, 2005), and numerous anthologies, most recently in Best American Poetry 2008. She is the author of two chapbooks of poems, Blind Boy on Skates (Trilobite/University of North Texas Press, 1988) and Cellar (Alderman Press/University of Virginia, 1983), and is editor of Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems (Columbia University Press, 1999) and All That Mighty Heart: London Poems (University of Virginia Press, 2008). Her work has appeared in many literary quarterlies and journals, including Denver Quarterly, Image, The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Slate, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. Since 2010, she has been the poetry blogger and reviewer for The Chronicle of Higher Education Review. Ms. Spaar has been honored by the Academy of American Poets, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Library of Virginia Award for Poetry (2009), and the Carol Weinstein Poetry Prize (2011-12). In addition, she is the Director of the Area Program in Poetry Writing at the University of Virginia, where she is Professor of English and Creative Writing, an Advising Fellow, and the winner of an All-University Teaching Award (2009), a Harrison Award for Undergraduate Advising, a Mead Honored Faculty Award, and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award (2010).