The Literary Essays of John Heath-Stubbs
Carcanet, 1998 - 214 pages
To mark John Heath-Stubbs's eightieth birthday, Carcanet publishes his major essays. The earliest was written in 1945, the most recent half a century later. There is a notable continuity of concern throughout the book: here is a poet undistracted by fashion from his vocation, which is to read deeply and to understand the different terms on which every writer wrestles poems from a language. He considers English poets from Spenser to the present day, as well as the Italians Tasso and Leopardi. In engaging a writer he employs his unique understanding of poetic process. He has a clear sense of the challenges and rewards of sustained long poems - epic, allegory or satire - and an ear for rhythmic and semantic nuance. Fascination with specific detail never distracts him from a sense of the larger project of the poem itself.
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