"A collection of reviews and essays by David Orr, the New York Times poetry columnist and one of the most respected critics in America today, his best work of the past fifteen years in one place Poetry is never more vital, meaningful, or accessible than in the hands of David Orr. In the pieces collected here, most of them written originally for the New York Times, Orr is at his rigorous, conversational, and edifying best. Whether he is considering the careers of contemporary masters, such as Louise GlËuck or Frederick Seidel, sizing up younger American poets, like Matthea Harvey and Matthew Zapruder, or even turning his attention to celebrities and public figures, namely Oprah Winfrey and Stephen Fry, when they choose to wade into the hotly contested waters of the poetry world, Orr is never any less than fully persuasive in arguing what makes a poem or poet great--or not."--
Introduction, as a list of things I don't like ... -- On Poetry -- You, too, could write a poem -- Bad guys -- The age of citation -- Vendler's Yeats -- Hit parade -- The style of Luis de Géongora -- Virtuosity -- The happy couplet -- The great(ness) game -- Oprah's adventures in poetryland -- Annals of poetry -- Poetry and, of, and about -- The school of verse -- The virtues of poetry: Longenbach and Papageorgiou -- Beach reading -- The tunnel -- Volta -- The state of contemporary American poetry: an allegory -- On Poets -- Louise GlËuck's Metamorphoses -- The obscurity of Michael O'Brien -- Too close to touch: Thom Gunn's Selected Poems -- Tomas TranstrËomer and the art of translation -- Rough gems: the uncollected work of Elizabeth Bishop -- The letters of Ted Hughes -- The dream logic of Matthea Harvey -- Jack Gilbert's daily devotions -- The neglected master -- Public poetry: four takes -- The Trouble with Poetry -- James Franco, poet -- How far can you press a poet? -- On Robert Hass -- Christopher Gilbert's improvisations -- Matthew Zapruder and Rachel Wetzsteon -- The raw and the cooked: Frank Stanford and Devin Johnston -- The collected poems of Louis MacNeice -- Versions of Zbigniew Herbert -- The poetry of Nabokov -- Mary Jo Bang's Elegy -- Jorie Graham, superstar -- The Notebooks of Robert Frost -- Donald Justice -- On Carl Phillips -- Richard Wilbur's Anterooms -- Frederick Seidel, scary guy -- Marie Ponsot.