Riffs on Romantic Poetry
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The jazz term riff is short for riffle-make rough. In Untam'd Wing: Riffs on Romantic Poetry, scholar/poet Jeffrey Robinson sets out much like a jazz musician to renew a great body of work (say, Miles Davis on George Gershwin)-to recast, as he says in the Prefatory Note, what have become monuments, with all the inertness of passive appreciation that monumentality encourages, into living forms. If he roughs up some of our long-time favorites, it's not to revise, and certainly not to improve, but on the contrary to reveal a timeless dimension that is of the very nature of the Romantic: I would define a 'romantic' poem, of whatever vintage, as one that invites its own renewal in every present. With all the boldness and subtle care of the poets he celebrates, Robinson stakes his life-long involvement as reader, teacher, and scholar/critic of Romantic poetry on an equally committed absorption and belief in the discoveries of modern and contemporary experimental poetry. Like a true marriage it lays bare both parties.
Station Hill Press, 9781581771183, 124pp.
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
About the Author
Robinson has published widely in Romantic Studies. He is co-editor, along with Jerome Rothenberg, of Poems for the Millennium, Volume Three: The University of California Book of Romantic and Post-Romantic Poetry. A winner of Guggenheim and NEH fellowships, he has taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder since 1971.
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