America’s most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition—and unearths. Break, Blow, Burn By Camille Paglia. pp. Pantheon Books. $ CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know. CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know very much about poetry, Camille Paglia’s new book anthologizes

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A gimmick has been established for Housden and was performing handsomely—the books, pocket sized, were perfect for bookstore cash register stands as impulse purchases, and in the dozens.

Hers isn’t a sensibility to bow to fashion or some one’s deeply intoned name; fame and a gimmick will not acquaint the poet under review any slack. Jan 11, J. I found a lot of poems where there is great stuff in the poem, but no truly great poem. Matthew Arnold noted that literary epochs may tend to swing between moments of creative impulse and critical consideration.

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. I lost interest in the contemporary novel decades ago. The exception is her frequent references to “Petrarchan” poetry, which could have used an example or two more to help those of us who have not benefitted from an extensive classical education.

But above all, her range of allusion helps to show what was in Stevens’s head: She also proves entertainingly willing to say not only what a poem does and means, but why she likes it. We get slang and profanity “ain’t,” “goddamn” as well as African-American syncopated speech rhythms and idiomatic verb forms a man “want” rather than “wants”; “girl, you crazy”; “you too serious”. Please try again later.

Break, Blow, Burn

That is what good teachers do, and the first three-quarters of the book follows through, offering patient, vigorous and largely uncontroversial explication of poems by Shakespeare, Donne whom her title quotesWordsworth, Coleridge and others. The same might have been said of John Crowe Ransom, and with equal inaccuracy. There was a point in Break, Blow, Burnwhen I started thinking about just that notion.

Paglia also pays meticulous attention to language, which can produce delightful insights as well as writing that’s a pleasure in itself: Paglia concludes with the words to Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock,” a wonderful song about which she says baffling things: I read a great review of this book a couple years back and knowing I needed to broaden my extremely limited exposure to poetry I added it to my wishlist.


Housden’s editorial genius was his ability to ignore problematic subject matter and stir his declarations skyward, looking over the hill for the displaced Gods who formerly assured us a coherent world. NOR does Paglia’s useful conviction that feminism, as an ideology, is as debilitating for individual responsibility as any other ideology make it true that women are now out of the woods.

Break, Blow, Burn by Camille Paglia

She is not reading Shakespeare’s wonderful Sonnet 73 That time of year thou may’st in me behold in order to “situate” it in imperial discourse, or to draw up an indictment against 16th-century patriarchy, or to chase down a theory that it wasn’t actually written by Shakespeare, but “appropriated” from his marginalized sister.

Making us share her exasperation and despair, she gains substance and presence until by the end she looms like an avenging Fury, beating off all opponents and willing the poem into pxglia. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Donne, who insisted that his secular poetry circulate only in manuscript, supposedly “shows a feel for the printed page.

Lists with This Book. So Paglia has put down her Molotov cocktails and picked up the lyre to sing the praises of 43 poems, ranging from Shakespeare and Burnn to Sylvia Plath and Gary Snyder. A regular contributor to Salon.

And they destabilize the book: Paglia breaks down an extremely diverse range of poetry all the way from Shakespeare to Pomeroy, and even Joni Mitchell makes a guest appearance. Paglia opens it up, dissecting Wachtel’s specimen as a post-modern artifact of media voices at once frivolous, informative and ridiculous.

Nov 24, Craig rated it liked it. Little solidarity is evident within her home community, which is portrayed as competitive and coercive. Thanks to the proliferation of post-structuralism, Marxism, and all the other components of Bloom’s School of Resentment, the art of close reading of poetry has been sadly neglected in recent decades. Against the academics she disdains, Paglia strives to — and does — vamille clearly.

Break, Blow, Burn by Camille Paglia

I have had three copies of the book since it came out in the mids. John Donne, Holy Sonnet I 6. She seems to enjoy being alone. They became more and more insular, and their world became more and more professionalized.

Clocking in mostly at ca,ille to four pages, Paglia’s readings sound a lot like classroom preambles to discussion—offering background, lingering over provocative lines, venturing provisional interpretations. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Sometimes she had something enlightening to say but often as not she was also condescending to the reader. I don’t like that all of her poems are from Western poets–what about the rest of the world?


In earlier works like her masterpiece, Sexual PersonaePaglia’s voice was staccato, purple, echoing Wilde and Walter Pater. Jan 24, Pages.

Camille Paglia discusses Poetry with TMO

Perhaps she and VS Naipaul, who finds equally little that pleases him in 20th-century fiction, should join forces. Paglia defines criticism as an act of divination and sets herself up as an oracle mediating between us lesser mortals and the poem. These comparisons help to define the Post-Impressionist impulse from which all the verbal music of Stevens’s ”Man With the Blue Guitar” emerged, while incidentally reminding us that Paglia, before she made this bid on behalf of poetry, cmille the same for painting, and with the same treasury of knowledge to back up her endeavor.

She reminds us that poetry — art — is mankind’s rebuttal against the transitory. I saw poems such as ‘Lady Lazarus’ and ‘Daddy’ dissected over and over, the moment that my mother wrote them being applied to her whole life, to her whole person, as if they were the total pagia of her experience.

I maintain that the text emphatically exists as an object; it is not just a mist of ephemeral subjectivities. Copyright c by Camille Paglia. Jan 24, Pages Buy. Paglia’s enthusiasm for poetry is infectious, and her respect for these great works led her to make an aesthetic decision that I can’t praise highly enough.

Camil,e her for half an hour and you will find her fighting battles with other feminists all over cyberspace. Quite the rbeak, she seems to have mastered the art of wringing as much out of a poem in as brief a space as possible; her explications have ubrn the quick perfection of a Borges essay.

Paglia understands the needs of the general audience and meets them, which is what makes Break Blow Burn such a great read. Finally, what is especially inspiring in Paglia’s fierce arguments is her refusal to grant the readers slack.

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