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One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America
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One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  14 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
One Kind of Everything elucidates the uses of autobiography and constructions of personhood in American poetry since World War II, with helpful reference to American literature in general since Emerson. Taking on one of the most crucial issues in American poetry of the last fifty years, celebrated poet Dan Chiasson explores what is lost or gained when real-life experiences ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2007 by University Of Chicago Press
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Jan 30, 2008 Lisa rated it liked it
In sometimes-thorny prose, Chiasson analyzes how autobiography appears in/impacts the work of Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Frank Bidart, Frank O'Hara, Louise Gluck, and a few "language" poets. This book is Academic and takes itself very seriously--I wouldn't have expected less from Chiasson, with his Harvard Ph.D. and all. Reading this book made me feel like a student again (in both good and bad ways).

Chiasson's argument, though not always explicitly stated, is that autobiography is "inevita
Mar 10, 2012 Charlotte rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
So, I finally finished this. It's great--I learned so much. It's also dense in the way that all academic writing is dense, and though Chiasson is a good academic writer, I'll need to go back and re-read some to keep his points in mind/understand them better. I haven't got it all yet. Need to read a lot more Gluck and Lowell, although I'm pretty pleased with my status on the Bishop & O'Hara chapters. Bidart in the middle. Reading this made me wish I HAD gone and done a PhD and profoundly grat ...more
Sep 07, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it
The chapters on Lowell and Bishop are particularly good; Chiasson's chapters on Bidart and Glück are not as well organized, and the poems he chooses as demonstrations of his points are not as apposite. Or rather they are ("Mock Orange" and "Ellen West" are as rich with meaning and challenge as anything else either wrote), but they seem to twist out of his control in a way that his glosses of Lowell's and Bishop's poems do not.
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“The most significant events, Bishop seems to argue, are destined to remain outside the scope of description. It is perhaps their very status as excessive or fugitive that makes them, in the end, significant. A poet who believes such things will not arrive uncomplicatedly at self-description.” 2 likes
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