Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The ecstatic lash

I must confess that I was a little nervous about reading Maureen McLane's My Poets: it is roughly commensurate with my style book in many respects, and I was afraid I was going to find myself so thoroughly preempted and outdone that I might lose heart for my own project!  However I am very happy to report that it is a lovely and intriguing book, beautifully well written and quite unlike anything I ever would or could write myself. 

I found the chapters on Marianne Moore, Louise Gluck and Shelley particularly satisfying (and slightly lost patience with the one on H.D., though it is full of interesting observations), but there is much here that will interest anyone who's keen to make and chronicle an inner life of words.  Am shortly going to Amazon some volumes of verse that I now have a yen to steep myself in (I especially recommend the chapter "My Impasses: On Not Being Able to Read Poetry," which made me realize I have never owned a volume of Frank O'Hara!)....

In other news, two good swim bits: portrait of the swimmer as a young writer; Britain's paralympic swimmers (FT site registration required).

Miscellaneous light reading around the edges: Lavie Tidhar's steampunk The Bookman, which aficionados of nineteenth-century British literature will especially enjoy; Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan's delightful Team Human; Rae Carson's appealing The Girl of Fire and Thorns.

(The timing of publication of Deborah Harkness's Shadow of Night is opportune with a view to fast passage of my airport and flight time later on this afternoon and this evening!)


  1. I saw the Marianne Moore piece in Poetry a couple of issues back; was a little nonplussed by it, I think I was expecting a critical appraisal but it really had relatively little to do with Moore, it was much more about the effects of going through life with a lot of poetry stuck in one's head. (I should acquire this book if only for the piece about Shelley; I am always on the lookout for essays that make Shelley seem less inaccessible...)

  2. Thanks for the Deborah Harkness mention. As a result I've just started A Discovery of Witches, which is proving to be an indulgence of the best kind - right up there with macademia crunch ice cream and daydreaming!