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Strange Good Fortune

Essays on Contemporary Poetry

David Wojahn


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Strange Good Fortune is a collection of fifteen essays on the state of American verse, written by a well-known American poet whose criticism has also attracted considerable attention. Passionate in his engagement with both the practice of poetry and in the observation of verse as it exists within an increasingly professionalized and sometimes perplexing scene, Wojahn follows in the tradition of poet-critics such as Randall Jarrell and Delmore Schwartz, offering provocative and insightful observations about such topics as the persistence of autobiographical poetry, poetry and politics, the creative writing industry, American poets and travel, recent literary hoaxes, and the poetry of depression and invective. The essays discuss not only familiar figures such as Elizabeth Bishop, James Wright, and Robert Lowell but also under-appreciated poets such as Weldon Kees, Frederick Seidel, and Armand Schwerner, as well as younger poets such as Mark Doty, Susan Mitchell, and Denis Johnson. Wojahn's is a humanistic and practical criticism, devoid of theoretical cant, and capable of both acute analysis of individual poems and larger generalizations about poetic method. Forceful, readable, and unflappable, Strange Good Fortune is the work of a poet writing about what he cares about; it is not hobbled by jargon or addled by theory.

Praise For Strange Good Fortune: Essays on Contemporary Poetry

"This is a superb collection of essays, coherent, brilliant and instructive. It will be part of the Wojahn canon." —David Baker

University of Arkansas Press, 9781557287083

Publication Date: July 1, 2001

About the Author

David Wojahn is the Lilly Professor of Poetry and director of creative writing at Indiana University. His previous publications include: Icehouse Lights; Mystery Train); Late Empire ; The Falling Hour. He was an editor of A Profile of American Poetry and The Only World: Last Poems of Lynda Hull.