9780820324081

God and the Imagination : On Poets, Poetry, and the Ineffable

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780820324081

  • ISBN10:

    0820324086

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2002-07-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Georgia Pr

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Summary

Poet, critic, biographer, and Catholic intellectual Paul Mariani delivers huge armfuls of experience and knowledge in this wide-ranging collection of twenty-four essays. As a man of faith in a secular world, Mariani brings to light issues surrounding spirituality and poetry through discussions of the Gnostics, Roman history, the Bible, John of the Cross, Rilke, Robert Pack, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, and the poets he most admires--Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, John Berryman, and Robert Lowell.Charged with spiritual and intellectual awe, Mariani fully engages with his subjects, from their lives to their works to their grand impact on Mariani's own life as a poet. His prose flows easily from anecdote to analysis, from Paterson, the setting of Williams's great tribute poem, to Manhattan, where Mariani haunts old neighborhoods and the Brooklyn Bridge, searching for traces of Hart Crane. By infusing scholarly criticism with a personal voice, Mariani allows us to see the relationship between poetry and a sublime presence in the universe.Serious reading for anyone interested in modern and contemporary poetry, God and the Imagination offers elegant and original insights into a wide variety of poetic concerns. But it is most extraordinary for its celebration of the lives of the poets, which allow us, in Mariani's words, "to recover what would otherwise be lost to time and silence."

Author Biography

Paul Mariani is the author of Thirty Days: On Retreat with the Exercises of St. Ignatius and five volumes of poetry, including, most recently, The Great Wheel. Besides several critical studies, he has also published biographies of Robert Lowell, William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, and John Berryman. Mariani currently holds a Chair in English at Boston College.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xv
I. WRITING THE SELF
Beginnings
3(12)
Class
15(15)
Hopkins as Lifeline
30(8)
Quid Pro Quo
38(7)
Eight or Nine Ways of Looking at a River
45(10)
II. WRITING LIVES
The Brain That Hears the Music
55(13)
Kinnell's Legacy: On ``The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ into the New World''
68(9)
Lowell on Berryman on Lowell
77(18)
Writing Lowell
95(10)
The Hole in the Middle of the Book: Absence and Presence in Biography
105(17)
Staring into the Abyss: Robert Pack's Later Poems
122(7)
Hardy's Heartbreak
129(14)
Hart Crane: ``Clenched Beaks Coughing for the Surge Again''
143(5)
Skyscraper Soup: Two Views of Twenties New York
148(15)
Frost among the Poets
163(16)
Reconfiguring Flame: The Art of Biography
179(18)
III. GOD AND THE IMAGINATION
Summoning the Dead: Politics and the Sublime in Contemporary English Poetry
197(17)
The Intensest Rendezvous: On the Poems of John of the Cross
214(9)
The Ineffability of What Counts
223(10)
Toward a Sacramental Language
233(12)
God and the Imagination
245(13)
``The Unshapeable Shock Night'': Pain, Suffering, and the Redemptive Imagination
258(11)
Index 269

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