Conversation Pieces

Poems That Talk to Other Poems

By Kurt Brown (Editor); Harold Schechter (Editor); Billy Collins (Preface by)
Everyman's Library, Hardcover, 9780307265456, 256pp.

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 C├ęsar 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.

About the Author
Kurt Brown is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry including his most recent, TIME-BOUND (2012), as well as the new selection, I'VE COME THIS FAR TO SAY HELLO: POEMS SELECTED AND NEW (2014), both published by Tiger Bark Press. He founded the Aspen Writers Conferences & Centers, and was the Founding Director of Writers' Conferences and Centers (now part of AWP). A tireless advocate for poetry and other poets, he edited ten anthologies of poetry, including the newest (with Harold Schechter), Killer Verse: Poems about Murder and Mayhem. With his wife, the poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Brown translated The Plural of Happiness: Selected Poems of Herman de Coninck. His memoir, Lost Sheep: Aspen's Counter-culture in the 1970s, was published by Conundrum Press in 2012. He taught for many years at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. In recent years he lived in Santa Barbara, California. He died in June, 2013.Harold Schechter is a professor of American literature and culture. Renowned for his true-crime writing, he is the author of the nonfiction books Fatal, Fiend, Bestial, Deviant, Deranged, Depraved, and The Serial Killer Files. He lives in New York State.Billy Collins was the Poet Laureate of the United States and the State of New York. He is a Distinguished Professor at Lehman College and a Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute. A Literary Lion of the New York Public Library and author of many collections of poetry, including Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds and Horoscopes for the Dead, he lives in Westchester, New York.
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