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Scenes of Instruction in Contemporary American Poetry
Series: Facing Pages
Poems

prevalent mood of contemporary American poetry, in its late surrealist phase, makes it hard for us to assimilate Arghezi into our idiom. Then there is simply the impossibility of translating poetry anyway—but perhaps one should not worry too much about not bringing over the exact feel and nature of a foreign poet. An anecdote recounted by George Seferis is ά propos here. He was up late one night translating Yeats, till, exhausted and discouraged at a particularly knotty part, he went to bed. He dreamed, and in the dream he was told not to worry because he couldn

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The Didactic Muse W I L L A R D S P I E G E L M A N The Didactic Muse Scenes of Instruction in Contemporary American Poetry P R I N C E T O N U N I V E R S I T Y P R E S S Princeton, NewJersey C o p y r i g h t © 1 9 8 9 b y Pr inceton Univers i ty Press Publ ished by Pr inceton Univers i ty Press, 41 Wil l iam Street , Pr inceton, N e w Jersey 08540 I n the U n i t e d K i n g d o m : Pr inceton Universi ty Press, O x f o r d A L L R I G H T S RESERVED L i b r a r y o f C o n g r e s s Cata loging- in-Publ icat ion Data S p i e g e l m a n

. Beach, Christopher. Poetic Culture: Contemporary American Poetry between Community and Institution. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999. Bell, Charles G. Songs for a New America. Indiana University Poetry Series. Blooming- ton: Indiana University Press, 1953. Benamou, Michel. Wallace Stevens and the Symbolist Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Prince- ton University Press, 1972. Benét, Stephen Vincent. Foreword to The Deer Come Down, by Edward Weismiller, 7– 8. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1936. ———. Foreword to Theory of Flight, by Murial Rukeyser

House, 1968), 49. 11. All references are to The Collected Poems, 1947-1980 (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), hereafter CP. 12. Helen Vendler, "A Lifelong Poem Including History," The New Yorker, 62 (13 Jan. 1986): 77-84. 13. Charles Molesworth, The Fierce Embrace: A Study of Contemporary American Poetry (Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1979), 38—39. 14. Quoted in Richard Howard, Alone with America: Essays on the Art of Poetry in the United States since 1950 (New York: Atheneum, 1969), 149. 15. Kramer, Ginsberg in America, 115. 16. "If the mind of

of Auden’s in- fluence, what G. t. Wright wrote more than fifteen years ago nevertheless remains true: ‘The influence of Auden on contemporary American poetry still has to be studied in detail.’” in Peter Firchow, W. H. Auden: Contexts for Poetry (newark, De: University of Delaware Press, 2002), 195. 9 John Hollander, “Under Aquarius,” in stephen spender, W. H. Auden: A Tribute (new york: Macmillan, 1975), 201. 10 charles olson and robert creeley, The Complete Correspondence: Vol. 1, George F. Butterick, ed. (santa Barbara, cA: Black sparrow Press, 1980

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry . He teaches at Yale, and edits The Yale Review. HEATHER MCHUGH was born to Canadian parents in San Diego, California, in 1948. She was raised in Virginia, educated at Harvard, and is now the Milliman Dis- tinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington. Among her col- lections are Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968–1993 (1994) and The Father of Predicaments 308 (1999). A book of essays, Broken English: Poetry and Partiality, appeared in 1993. She has translated Euripides’ Cyclops, and the poetry of Jean Follain

Filreis’s Modern and Contemporary American Poetry class. Al Filreis is the head of the U. Penn Writing Center. His typical class there is a small seminar, much like Professor Delbanco’s. But he has 33,000 students in his online class. And he gets e-mails from students that are very similar to what we just heard, about how these interactions have opened these students’ minds to a new way of looking at poetry, have allowed them to interact with their peers in a way that is centered on the course material but also transcends geographical boundaries, and have