Break, Blow, Burn
Camille Paglia Reads Forty-three of the World's Best Poems
America’s most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis and appreciation to bear on the great poems of the Western tradition, and on some unexpected discoveries of her own. Combining close reading with a panoramic breadth of learning, Camille Paglia refreshes our understanding of poems we thought we knew, from Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 73” to Shelley’s “Ozymandias,” from Donne’s “The Flea” to Lowell’s “Man and Wife,” and from Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” to Plath’s “Daddy.”
Paglia also introduces us to less-familiar works by Paul Blackburn, Wanda Coleman, Chuck Wachtel, Rochelle Kraut–and even Joni Mitchell. Daring, riveting, and beautifully written, Break, Blow, Burn will excite even seasoned poetry lovers, and create a generation of new ones.
Includes a new epilogue that details the selection process for choosing the 43 poems presented in this book and provides commentary on some of the pieces that didn't make the final cut.
READ AN EXCERPT
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the...
–The New York Times Book Review
“The chapter on Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’ will take the top of your head off!” –James Wolcott
“As entertaining as it is dazzingly erudite, Break, Blow, Burn is capable of re-energizing any reader’s engagement with poetry.”
–Francine du Plessix Gray, The Week
“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.” –Philip Marchand, Toronto Star
“It will have students storming the walls of tomorrow’s English departments, mad for poetry again.” –St. Petersburg Times
“Dazzling. . . . Bursts with her ingenuity. . . . Brilliant insights . . . permeate the book. . . . Readers receive a marvelous education.”
–Rocky Mountain News
“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.” –The Times (London)