Beautiful & Pointless by David Orr
A Guide to Modern Poetry

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"David Orr is no starry-eyed cheerleader for contemporary poetry; Orr’s a critic, and a good one. . . . 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

Award-winning New York Times Book Review poetry columnist David Orr delivers an engaging, amusing, and stimulating tour through the world of poetry. With echoes of Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer, Orr’s Beautiful & Pointless offers a smart and funny approach to appreciating an art form that many find difficult to embrace.


About David Orr

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David Orr is the poetry columnist for The New York Times Book Review. He is the winner of the Nona Balakian prize from the National Book Critics Circle and the Editors Prize for Book Reviewing from Poetry magazine. Orr's writing has appeared in Slate, Poetry, The Believer, and Pleiades magazines. He holds a BA from Princeton and a JD from Yale Law School.
Published April 12, 2011 by HarperCollins e-books. 229 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beautiful & Pointless

The New York Times

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In a book filled with excellent quotations, he surprisingly doesn’t cite James Dickey’s line — “What you have to realize when you write poetry, or if you love poetry, is that poetry is just naturally the greatest god damn thing that ever was in the whole universe” — but essentially his book says ...

Apr 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful & Pointless : A Gui...

Publishers Weekly

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This debut from New York Times Book Review poetry columnist Orr is equal parts friendly invitation for the uniniti-ated into the joys and possibilities of reading poetry for the uninitiated and opinionated cultural critique of the contemporary American poetry scene, on which Orr has an unusual va...

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful & Pointless : A Gui...


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David Orr, who writes about poetry for NPR Books and the New York Times Book Review, offers an engaging exploration of modern-day poetry, encouraging the uninitiated to give verse a try and promising that, if they stick with it through the initial confusion, poetry can be a very beautiful thing.

Apr 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful & Pointless : A Gui...

California Literary Review

In this way, he seems out of touch with poetry at the periphery (read: snobby), choosing instead to focus on safer, mainstream writers the likes of whom make regular appearances in the New York Times book review section (where, conveniently, Orr is a poetry columnist).

Jul 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful & Pointless : A Gui...

Publishing Perspective

Using many examples of contemporary poetry, Orr discusses how poets inject the personal into their poetry (and, just as importantly, how some poets avoid the personal altogether) and how poets address and respond to current politics through poetry.

Apr 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Beautiful & Pointless : A Gui...

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