Monday, March 12, 2012

Making Sense of Modern Poetry. BEAUTIFUL & POINTLESS: A GUIDE TO MODERN POETRY by David Orr

BEAUTIFUL & POINTLESS:  A GUIDE TO MODERN POETRY BY DAVID ORRA Chicago Tribune Best Books of 2011 selection
Most students find that mastering the art of contemporary poetry is akin to visiting a foreign country without any knowledge of the language or culture. Because these students have barely visited poetry, let alone lived there, they struggle to enjoy the art for what it is, rather than what they imagine it to be.

Now available in paperback, in Beautiful & Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry, award-winning critic David Orr brings students on a riveting tour of poetry as it actually exists today. Orr argues that students should accept the foreignness of poetry in the way that they accept the strangeness of any place to which they haven’t traveled—they should expect a little confusion, at least at first. Yet in the same way that they can, over time, learn to appreciate the idiosyncratic delights of a new and foreign land, they can learn to be comfortable with the odd pleasures of poetry by building a relationship with it, taking their time, and pursuing what they like.

Beautiful & Pointless provides the foundation for such a relationship by examining the things poets and students talk about when they discuss poetry, such as why poetry seems especially personal and what it means to write “in form.” Orr, by turns acerbic, incisive, hilarious, and keen, is what every poetry student hopes for: the perfect guide who points the way, doesn’t talk too much, and helps them see what you might have missed on their own. Stimulating, amusing, and utterly engrossing, Beautiful & Pointless empowers students to engage poetry as individual readers, allowing them to appreciate it in their own way.

Praise for Beautiful & Pointless: A Guide to Modern Poetry:

Beautiful and Pointless holds a mirror up to the poetry world itself. Orr starts from a brilliantly accurate characterization of what it feels like to read a poem, which should be up on the wall in every high school English classroom.

“David Orr is an authentic iconoclast. His criticism is exuberant and original. . . . He will enhance the perception of his readers.”
—Harold Bloom

Beautiful & Pointless is a clear-eyed, opinionated, and idiosyncratic guide to a vibrant but endangered art form, essential reading for anyone who loves poetry, and also for those of us who mostly just admire it from afar.
”—Tom Perrotta

David Orr reminds us that poetry is an ancient and living art, a robust American art, and not a commodity or vehicle for self-expression, social betterment, or career enhancement. He argues his case with passion, eloquence, erudition and good sense
and, as is his custom, not a little moxie.
”—August Kleinzahler

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