The Virtues of Poetry

by James Longenbach

The Virtues of Poetry

Paperback, 169 pages, Farrar Straus & Giroux, List Price: $14 | purchase

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Book Summary

Twelve interconnected essays from the poet and critic describe the excellence found in poems by Shakespeare, Donne, Blake, Keats, Dickinson, Yeats, and others and discuss the fluid nature of art.

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NPR stories about The Virtues of Poetry

Critics' Lists: Summer 2013

Making Art From Art: 5 Nonfiction Reads For Summer

The Virtues of Poetry, a series of loosely linked essays on poets like Ezra Pound, W.B. Yeats and John Ashberry, is not so much a work of criticism as it is a work of celebration. Unlike Updike, with his summary judgments, James Longenbach doesn't bother finding flaws — "With vices I am not concerned," he says, a little grandly, adding that "Unlike the short-term history of taste, which is fueled by reprimand or correction, the history of art moves from achievement to achievement."

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