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Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language

10 May 2012
Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... game) and the self-explanatory The Weather. Traffic, and texts like it, represent a new frontier in poetic art. The most influential claims for the work of Goldsmith and his allies have come from MarjoriePerloff, a former president of the Modern Language Association and professor of English at Stanford. Perloff has trained at least two generations of scholars and written many books on writers and ...

Lowellship

John Bayley

17 September 1987
Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry 
edited by Steven Gould Axelrod and Helen Deese.
Cambridge, 377 pp., £17.50, June 1987, 0 571 14979 0
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Collected Prose 
by Robert Lowell, edited and introduced by Robert Giroux.
Faber, 269 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 30872 0
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... second wife, Elizabeth Hardwick. She said that ‘texts had been his life.’ A tycoon’s widow might equally say, and in the same spirit, that ‘money had been his life.’ The sharpest point that MarjoriePerloff makes is to quote from Ian Hamilton’s biography of Lowell, recalling his treatment of one of his mistresses, the Lithuanian dancer Vija Vetra, for whom he declared ‘undying love’, and ...

Hi, Louise!

Stephanie Burt: Frank O’Hara

20 July 2000
In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art 
by Russell Ferguson.
California, 160 pp., £24.50, October 1999, 0 520 22243 1
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The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets 
by David Lehman.
Anchor, 448 pp., $16.95, November 1999, 0 385 49533 1
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Frank O’Hara: Poet among Painters 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 266 pp., £13.50, March 1998, 0 226 66059 1
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... San Remo bar and the New York City Ballet.’ To show what makes O’Hara more than just a diarist of a particularly fertile Bohemia would be to show how his poems work, why they sound as they do. MarjoriePerloff took on that job in Frank O’Hara: Poet among Painters (1977), the first academic book on O’Hara. Her new introduction to the reissued volume considers recent scholarly accounts of his ...
16 December 1993
The Modern Language Association of America: Program for the 109th Convention, Vol. 108, No. 6 
November 1993Show More
The Modern Language Association: Job Information List 
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... generally acceptable way. Presidents of the MLA hold office for a year. There are three appropriately distinguished candidates standing for the post this year: Stephen Greenblatt, Sandra Gilbert and MarjoriePerloff. Their policy declarations make interesting reading. Each accepts there is a crisis – although they disagree as to whether the crisis lies within or outside the profession. Greenblatt ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies

3 February 2000
The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... anthologies littering the sofa tables of the Manchester bourgeosie. In the 1980s, the American poet David Antin charged that ‘anthologies are to poets as the zoo is to animals.’ More recently, MarjoriePerloff called for undergraduates to swear off Evian, in the hope that tap-water drinkers could afford unabridged books rather than hackneyed fragments. Nobody seems to be listening. Last year set ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic

27 May 1999
... than they are made out to be.’ Karl Miller celebrates the ‘amphibian’ Conor Cruise O’Brien as a particularly striking example of distinction in the academy, in politics and in journalism. MarjoriePerloff offers a spirited demonstration of the incompetence and irresponsibility of much modern poetry reviewing, especially when it is done by poets, who understand poetry so much less well than ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth

19 August 2004
Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... Tom Raworth, according to MarjoriePerloff, is the ‘oldest living open-heart surgery survivor, treated in the UK in the first round of heart operations conducted there in the 1950s’. Highlight the ‘survivor’ bit. The last poet left ...

Snarly Glitters

August Kleinzahler: Roy Fisher

20 April 2006
The Long and the Short of It: Poems 1955-2005 
by Roy Fisher.
Bloodaxe, 400 pp., £12, June 2005, 1 85224 701 0
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...  very closely – will recognise the fetishised imagery (brick), the cadences, the way Fisher’s mind moves. This last feature would make it most identifiable to me, at least in a blind test. MarjoriePerloff, in an admiring essay, thinks ‘The Cut Pages’ is the best thing Fisher has ever done, predictably, I suppose, and the reason he was put on this planet: as a precursor to the so-called L-A ...

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