James Dickey - Babel to Byzantium

Babel to Byzantium ePUB download
In these essays, Dickey can be not just cruel, but blithely cruel—saying scathing things about a poet’s work as if he were pointing out a spot of jam on their upper lip.

On Conrad Aiken:
“The sense of necessity that art alone makes possible is almost totally absent, and one surrenders to the serious, musical murmur as to a long after-dinner nap in which one dreams of poetry dreaming that it is poetry.”

On Robert Graves:
“For all his inescapable talk of the Muse, I cannot for the life of me think that he has ever had more than a distinctly nodding acquaintance with her.”

Perhaps worse are some of his positive reviews which must have made the poet in question feel like he or she had been slapped with an ice-cold washcloth since entirely negative reviews are easier to brush off as the work of a biased critic:

On Robert Duncan:

“But the part of Duncan’s writing that is really his, that seems natural to him…makes buying his book worth one’s money, though perhaps only so much of it as the paperback edition costs.”

On Emma Swan:
“These poems have nothing in them remotely resembling greatness; they are perhaps not even outstandingly good, but they are real poems, and all real poems are as necessary to us as they are to their creator.”

But he is witty in his cattiness and can be spot-on when he actually enjoys a poet’s work.There is a great essay on e.e. Cummings which hits exactly on both his strengths and his weaknesses without using the weaknesses to denigrate or mock.The same with Marianne Moore.

So reading these essays is enjoyable (though expect to feel guilty at your pleasure) but certainly don’t let his bad reviews stop you from reading a poet, because he looks a little too hard to find that jam and so is always going to find it.

download James Dickey Babel to Byzantium ePUB


eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
PublisherFarrar Straus & Giroux
File size6.5 Mb
Release date 01.10.1981
Pages count302
Book rating4.07 (14 votes)
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