Poems That Talk to Other Poems
Publication Date: March 20, 2007
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This utterly delightful anthology gathers poetic responses to other poems in a dialogue conducted across space and time.
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.
Kurt Brown is the author of four books of poetry and editor of numerous anthologies. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.
Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture at Queens College, CUNY, and author of several mystery novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe. He lives in New York City.