THE MODERN POETS by M. L. Rosenthal


Email this review


A Critical Introduction"" is also an intensive course in modern poetry, given by a New York University professor. Rosenthal, after an introductory chapter on the meaning of ""modern"" poetry, discusses a good many poets beginning with Hopkins and ending with Ginsberg and other very recent poets. These discussions are mostly in lecture-form; line by line dissections of poems, an examination of the poet's general meanings, followed by a summing-up judgment of the poet's value often in relation to other poets. These judgments reflect the author's own strong opinions and are sometimes didactic; but his analyses of poems and the motives behind them are acute and interesting. The book as a whole has considerable impact. Poets are perhaps the only people who have tried to grapple directly with the meanings of modern life. And this book, in examining their techniques and emotions, says much about the material with which the poet has had to work--the wasteland world of loneliness, frustration, mass murder, war, etc. Readers who find modern poetry ""difficult"" should see here that it is the material that is also difficult; it is an astonishing proof of courage that so much coherent truth and beauty has been wrung from such reality. Perhaps the book's greatest value is that it makes so painfully clear how far poets have come from ""love, dove"" and shepherdesses into the uncertain and exacerbated reality of the modern world... A disturbing, challenging interpretation.

Publisher: Oxford