amille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems
The most provocative American intellectual contributes her dazzling powers of examination to the best-known poems of the Western tradition and unearths some previously obscure verses that deserve a space in our canon.
Combining close reading with a panoramic breadth of learning, Camille Paglia sharpens our understanding of poems we thought we knew, from Shakespeare to Dickinson to Plath, and makes a case for including in the canon works by Paul Blackburn, Wanda Coleman, Chuck Wachtel, Rochelle Kraut—and even Joni Mitchell. Daring, riveting, and beautifully written, Break, Blow, Burn is a modern classic that excites even seasoned poetry lovers—and continues to create generations of new ones.
James Wolcott :
She flies as high as you can go. . . . Bold and convincing. . . . Exemplary. . . . A rich book.
Francine du Plessix Gray, The Week :
The chapter on Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’ will take the top of your head off!
Philip Marchand, Toronto Star :
As entertaining as it is dazzingly erudite, Break, Blow, Burn is capable of re-energizing any reader’s engagement with poetry.
St. Petersburg Times :
I hope a lot of people read this book. . . . There wasn’t a commentary where I didn’t learn something about the poem in question, no matter how familiar the poem was.
Rocky Mountain News :
It will have students storming the walls of tomorrow’s English departments, mad for poetry again.
The Times (London) :
Dazzling. . . . Bursts with her ingenuity. . . . Brilliant insights . . . permeate the book. . . . Readers receive a marvelous education.
Paglia’s vision is always fresh. . . . She makes a fascinating and challenging reading companion. These essays will inspire anyone to turn back to poetry again.