Jeffrey Wainwright Poet Poetry The Reasoner Academic
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POETRY: THE BASICS, Routledge, 2004.   Revised second edition 2011

The overriding aim of Poetry the Basics is to enhance the pleasure that readers gain from poetry. No special expertise is required to read and enjoy a poem, but, as with most pleasures, it can be greatly enriched by knowledge.

At the heart of the book are chapters on the most distinctively formal aspects of poetry: the different ‘voices’ of poetry, the poetic line both measured and ‘free’, rhyme, and stanza. Around these are chapters which attempt to associate poetry with wider language-use whilst establishing the special character of the ‘deliberate space’ that a poem occupies. The last chapter explores wider notions about the nature of poetic utterance, ‘inspiration’, and what it might be to be a poet.

The range is drawn from the Middle Ages to the present-day, and from poetry across the English-speaking world. Each chapter includes sustained discussion of individual poems as well as briefer examples.

Essays on the poetry of Geoffrey Hill

Manchester University Press, published December 2005, ISBN 0-7190-6754-5

Geoffrey Hill has said that some great poetry 'recognises that words fail us'. These essays explore Hill's struggle over fifty years with the recalcitrance of language. He is a poet of phenomenal verbal power who knows the dangers of indulging such power. His poetry draws to light the greatest intimacies and the most stunning and fleeting of his apprehensions. It is also public in its contemplation of ethics, history and politics. His ear for public discourse ranges from seventeenth century politics and theology to the nightly news and the celebrity-spread. This book seeks to show how all his work is marked by the quest for the right pitch of utterance whether it is sorrowing, angry, satiric or erotic. It shows how Hill's words are never lightly 'acceptable' but an ethical act, how he seeks out words he can stand by - words that are 'getting it right'.

Acceptable Words begins with an overview essay covering themes and styles across Hill's entire career, followed by a series of essays on the different volumes in chronological order of their first appearance up to Scenes from Comus (2005), concluding with a short 'Afterword'. The book also includes discussion of some poems yet to appear in book form.

This book is the most comprehensive and up-to-date critical work on Geoffrey Hill yet to appear. It aims to contribute something to the understanding of his poetry among those who have followed it for many years and students and other readers encountering this major poet for the first time.

Jeffrey Wainwright has published essays on many poets and aspects of poetry. Here is a selected list.

1975 'Editorial' (on language, class and contemporary poetry) Stand, Vol 17 No 1
1977 'The Politics of Literature' (on Hans Magnus Enzensberger) Poetry Nation Review 5
1978 'William Wordsworth at Briggflatts' (on Basil Bunting), Agenda, Vol 16, 1
1981 'Reading the Americans: Apart and Together', PN Review 21
1981-2 'The Poetry of W S Graham', Parnassus (New York), International Issue, Fall-Winter
1982 'William Carlos Williams' Lyric Poetry', Akros, Special American Poetry Issue, Vol 17 no 49, April
1986 'Some Thoughts on Language and Poetry', The North, Summer issue
1987 'The arts of Estrangement' (on Joseph Brodsky) PN Review 58, Summer
1989 'Remembering for Now: the Essays of Jeremy Hooker' Planet 73, February-March
1991 'Something to Believe in', Tony Harrison: Bloodaxe Critical Anthology, ed Neil Astley, Bloodaxe Press
1994 'Am I Doing it Right?', The Poet's Voice and Craft, ed C B McCully, Carcanet Press
2001 ‘The Uncertainty of the Poet’, PN Review, Vol 27 No 6, July-August, 9-14
2002 ‘Introduction’, Sidney Keyes: Collected Poems, Manchester, Carcanet, 1 85754-580
‘The Canto of Ulysses: Primo Levi and Dante’, Stand, Vol 3(4) / – 4(1), October
‘Introduction’, Arjen Duinker: The Sublime Song of Maybe, trans. Willem Groenewegen, Visible Poets Series, Todmorden, Arc Publications, 1-900072-772006
2006 ‘Poets I Go Back To’, The North 38, August-September, ISSN 0269-9885.
‘Milton’s Paradise Lost’, The Reader, No 24, December.2007
2007 ‘Art’s Marvellous’ on the poetry of Roy Fisher, Stand,Vol 7 No 2, pp 61-69; and in ed. Peter Robinson, An Unofficial Roy Fisher,Shearsman Books, 2010, 171-180.
2012 ‘In the Light’: the Poetry of Robert Gray’,PN Review203, Vol 38 No3,January-February 2012, pp 60-64.
‘The Impossibility of Death’ in Geoffrey Hill: Essays on his Later Work, edited by John Lyon and Peter McDonald, Oxford University Press.

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