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The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformation in Six American Poets: The Poetry of Lowell, Bishop, Berryman, Jarrell, Schwartz, and Plath
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The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformation in Six American Poets: The Poetry of Lowell, Bishop, Berryman, Jarrell, Schwartz, and Plath

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Lowell, Bishop, Plath, Berryman, Jarrell and Schwartz formed one of the great constellations of talent in American literature. In the decades after the Second World War, they changed poetry forever by putting themselves at risk in their poems in a new and provocative way. Their daring work helped to inspire the style of poetry now known as confessional but they have become ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 17th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published April 1st 2005)
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Nicolas Shump
Adam Kirsch who is a poet and book critic wrote a study of six modern American poets titled The Wounded Surgeon: Confession and Transformation in Six American Poets. The poets he considered were Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, John Berrryman, Randall Jarrell, Delmore Schwartz, and Sylvia Plath.
If you have read some of my earlier blogs, I have reviewed several books that cover similar territory or some of these same authors. As a KU undergrad I took a class on the poetry of Robert Lowell and Jo
...more
Jason Walker
I liked this book mostly because I was interested in the poets presented in the book and had a desire to know more about them. However, the writing did not convince me that the author had any mastery of his subjects and is often contradictory in his assessments of the value and quality of a poet's particular work. This is apparent particularly in the sections on Berryman, Jarrell and Plath. In one breath the author may cite a section of a poem as being juvenile or unartful and later claim the wh ...more
Katie Dreyer
This book provides an overview of six writers all considered "confessional poets." Adam Kirsch explores how each of these writers' works evolved and changed over time. He also provides profound insights into famously iconic works, like Berryman's 'Dream Songs' and Lowell's 'Life Studies.' Kirsch treats each of his subjects with respect and admiration, but never hesitates to point out their flaws. Although I did not necessarily agree with all his criticism (you can only imagine my horror when I r ...more
Michael Duncan
This is a concise, all be it, general overview of six of the more prominent confessional poets. The author combines a close critical reading of their poetry with biographical details. Two prominent themes are they're departure from, and rebellion against, the modernist poets like Elliot and the dangerous effects of writing deeply personal poems. The sections on Robert Lowell and John Berryman are excellent. For a more in depth understanding of any of these poets a proper biographical text is nec ...more
Timothy Bartel
While not as luminous and universal as Kirsch's second book of criticism, The Modern Element, this is a fine journey through a period of American poetry that has yet to be sufficiently explored and understood. Kirsch continually stresses, especially in the sections on Lowell, Berryman, and Plath, that confessional poetry should not be read as an unchecked gush of memory and emotion, but as carefully constructed pieces of art that stand or fall not by their honesty or authenticity, but by their a ...more
Craig Morgan Teicher
I don't know about this guy...
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Adam Kirsch is the author of two collections of poems and several books of poetry criticism. A senior editor at the New Republic and a columnist for Tablet, he also writes for The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. He lives in New York City with his wife and son.
More about Adam Kirsch...
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