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Conversation Pieces

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Edited by Kurt BrownAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Kurt Brown and Harold SchechterAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Harold Schechter

  • Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
  •  
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library
  • On Sale: March 20, 2007
  • Price: $12.50
  • ISBN: 978-0-307-26545-6 (0-307-26545-5)
about this book

This utterly delightful anthology gathers poetic responses to other poems in a dialogue conducted across space and time.

To write a poem is to become part of a Great Conversation with one's literary predecessors, but the poems in this anthology are a special breed: they may be replies, reproofs, updatings, acts of sabotage or adulation; they may argue with, elaborate on, poke fun at, or pay tribute to their inspirations--but all possess a special magic. Here are poems that answer, argue with, update, elaborate on, mock, interrogate, or pay tribute to poems of the past. We hear Leda's view of the Swan; feel sympathy for La Belle Dame sans Merci, and find out how Marvell's coy mistress might have answered his appeal. Raleigh's famous reply to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" sparked a centuries-long debate that John Donne, William Carlos Williams, C. Day Lewis, and Ogden Nash could not resist joining. In these pages we see Denise Levertov respond to Wordsworth, Randall Jarrell to Auden, Ogden Nash to Byron, Donald Justice to César Vallejo. We also see contemporary poets responding to their peers with the same intriguing mix of admiration and impatience.

Whether they offer approbation or reproof, the pleasures of a jazz riff or a completely different perspective, these remarkable poems are not only engaging themselves but also capable of casting surprising new light on the poems that inspired them.