My Poets by Maureen N. McLane

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Repetitive structures often discourage careful reading...
-NY Times


A thrillingly original exploration of a life lived under poetry's uniquely seductive spell

"Oh! there are spirits of the air," wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley. In this stunningly original book Maureen N. McLane channels the spirits and voices that make up the music in one poet's mind. Weaving criticism and memoir, My Poets explores a life reading and a life read. McLane invokes in My Poets not necessarily the best poets, nor the most important poets (whoever these might be), but those writers who, in possessing her, made her. "I am marking here what most marked me," she writes. Ranging from Chaucer to H.D. to William Carlos Williams to Louise Glück to Shelley (among others), McLane tracks the "growth of a poet's mind," as Wordsworth put it in The Prelude. In a poetical prose both probing and incantatory, McLane has written a radical book of experimental criticism. Susan Sontag called for an "erotics of interpretation": this is it. Part Bildung, part dithyramb, part exegesis, My Poets extends an implicit invitation to you, dear reader, to consider who your "my poets," or "my novelists," or "my filmmakers," or "my pop stars," might be.


About Maureen N. McLane

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Maureen N. McLane is the author of two collections of poetry, Same Life (FSG, 2008) and World Enough (FSG, 2010).
Published June 19, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for My Poets
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1


Reviewed by Walton Muyumba on Jun 28 2012

Weaving her personal narrative with a close study of Moore, McLane's revelations are fascinating and heart-stuttering...

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Daisy Fried on Aug 19 2012

Repetitive structures often discourage careful reading...

Read Full Review of My Poets | See more reviews from NY Times

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Lista on Jul 27 2012

The achievement of My Poets is the convincing case it makes that a reader’s real strength is her ability to cultivate an inconsistency of taste, which McLane argues is the inheritance of maturity.

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