Collected here are sixteen essays on poets and poetry, the writing life, and a host of fascinating topics that come into the wide range of Marianne Boruch's attention. She examines how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Theodore Roethke, from Russell Edson to Larry Levis, from Walt Whitman to Eavan Boland. Combining a richly associative personal style with original insights on poetic texts and historical and cultural musing, Boruch considers how the atomic bomb changed William Carlos Williams's deepest ambition for poetry, and how Edison's listening, through his famous deafness, informs our sense of the poetic line. Other essays explore how the car--its danger and solitude--helps us understand American poetry or how Dvorak and Whitman shared darker things than their curious love for trains. Poetry transforms, changing over time in the work of individual poets as well as changing us as we read it or write it. Boruch's writing has a musical, incantatory style, creating a mood in which many of her subjects are immersed. Her approach isn't meant to fix or crystallize her ideas in any hard and fast light, but rather to present the music of her thinking.
Marianne Boruch is the author of five poetry collections and the essay collection Poetry's Old Air. She has published poems and essays widely in the Georgia Review, the American Poetry Review, the Nation, and other magazines. She teaches in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and in the Department of English at Purdue University, and lives in Purdue, Indiana.