NONFICTION

Why Poetry

Ecco: HarperCollins. Aug. 2017. 256p. index. ISBN 9780062343079. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062343093. LIT
COPY ISBN
OrangeReviewStarZapruder is a poet (Come On All You Ghosts), professor (English, Saint Mary's Coll. of California), and editor (New York Times Magazine), but perhaps most importantly, he is a sensitive and perceptive reader along the lines of Hugh Kenner—a presence the literary world sorely lacks. Addressing his titular statement through a mixture of memoir and poetry analysis, Zapruder argues against the scholarly fashion of presenting poetry as something difficult and arcane. He proposes instead direct experience of the poem as the only way readers can overcome prejudices and fears induced by teachers turning poems into veiled coded messages, puzzles, or prompts for an AP exam. Anchoring his claims about poetry in the idea that a reader should be able to trust what is said on the surface of a poem, he walks us through pieces by W.S. Merwin, John Ashbery, W.H. Auden, and Emily Dickinson (among others), demonstrating time and again how reading poetry isn't about uncovering hidden meanings but slowing down long enough to appreciate what awaits on the page, echoes in our ears, and reverberates in our soul.
VERDICT A great addition to every poetry collection.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?

We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing

ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?