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The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  121 ratings  ·  13 reviews
The award-winning poet Carl Phillips's invaluable essays on poetry, the tenth volume in the celebrated Art of series of books on the craft of writing

In seven insightful essays, Carl Phillips meditates on the craft of poetry, its capacity for making a space for possibility and inquiry. What does it mean to give shapelessness a form? How can a poem explore both the natural w
Paperback, 136 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Graywolf Press
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 ·  121 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Art of Daring was the most accessible of the books that I have read from "The Art of ..." series (from Greywolf) and it was interesting although less immediately helpful in terms of reading or writing poetry.

Phillips shares his beliefs about the necessity of risk in being an artist, a risk lived out not only on the page but in life. I found myself arguing passionately with what was written: always a sign that I am deeply engaged. Is promiscuity a necessary part of risk-taking in life? And if
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very engaging work, I dog-eared and highlighted many passages: ideas and wisdom that resonate throughout. I also found myself arguing with Phillips here and there, about restlessness and risk, which I found valuable - I wholeheartedly agree that to grow as an artist takes both, but in what measure? That's part of what he confronts here. He reminds poets that their art is meant to "disturb assumptions", "resist closure", and engage with uncertainty instead of always feeling a need to resolve it ...more
Scott Wiggerman
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Like other books in this series, this one is totally engaging at times, less so at others. The basic premise is to take more risks in poetry (and perhaps in life), that that is the only way to grow. Not quite as practical as some of the other books in the series that are more craft-focused.
Amie Whittemore
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This craft book definitely grew on me as I read it. The weaving together of personal risks with poetic ones worked well for me, as a reader and writer, and the poems Phillips includes are lovely, his discussion of them erudite (as one might expect). Worth sitting with and returning to.
Ajibola Tolase
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Here, Carl Philips writes dauntlessly about poetry as a tool to interrogate personal or communal life. Of course, he brings his personal life to the fore and what it means to him to be gay and how telling his truth had not appeared as though he were daring or confronting anything in particular.
Derrick Carr
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poc
2 years ago, a poet led a workshop on the "Beautiful Dreamer" section of this book. I picked this book up because he praised it and because I liked what I wrote from it well enough.

I started to write this review thinking I was ambivalent about the book, but as I wrote I realized how much wisdom it contains. Even this paragraph is something I've returned to add upon reflection. More than most, this is a book that invites reflection. I have high praise for this book, if for nothing else than the
Milton Brasher-Cunningham
Restless is a good way to describe the tone of this book. The first half has some helpful challenges, but I thought the restlessness got the best of the author in the second half and it was harder to follow. As will all of this series, it was worth the read.
Jill Schepmann
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"In a sense, then, the child dares the man, who becomes briefly a child again, and he takes a chance. He climbs higher... One risk, I suppose, is of losing the control that has always been part of my sensibility; another, that I won't be understood, or I'll somehow be judged. But the risk of not daring is that I'll fail to have been entirely myself--the risk of not daring, you might say, is artifice, inauthenticity... Magic, I believe, is the result of daring, of knowing the risks, albeit not co ...more
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Phillips calls this little book an essay; it strikes me as more of a meditation. Very much the work of a man who writes more often in short, poetic forms - disjointed, abrupt, evocative, with many parenthetical thoughts. I found it difficult to read, as a result, except where he went into critical mode, explicating poems. There he shines, especially in highlighting the multivalency and polysemy of resonant poems. He manages to avoid the density and tedium critics often fall into when offering li ...more
Patti K
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This short book of essays about poetry was published this year by the accomplished
poet, Carl Phillips. I was curious to see what he had to say and I was not
disappointed. He takes seriously the advantage of risk=taking in poetry. A
certain kind of restlessness is good to jog your mind out of the ordinary
and into a more nuanced and complex work. The poet needs to break away
from the ordinary presentation, a form of "the art of decoration," and
try to reveal the secrets, the places where art and life
Gerry LaFemina
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Phillips's "Art of..." book is part personal reflection on his own behaviors and past, and part meditation on poems--his own and those he admires. I imagine some criticism might be made that there ought to be less reflection and more poems, but he asks the pertinent questions about the relationship between the poet and the poem, the self and the lyric self. This might be the most relevant aspect of these essays.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The first half or so of this book is a stunning imperative to risk and dare when writing poetry. The second half seemed less focused and less astute.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some of the explications of certain poems that Phillips admires were excellent, and the last section of the book (a meditation of the role of poetry in his own life) was a highlight.
Rambling Reader
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Carl Phillips is the highly acclaimed author of 10 collections of poetry.

He was born in 1959 to an Air Force family, who moved regularly throughout his childhood, until finally settling in his high-school years at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He holds degrees from Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Boston University and taught high-school Latin for eight years.

His first