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It’s That Time Again: ‘The Decline of American Verse’ at Harper’s

By Harriet Staff

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Mark Edmundson gives new meaning to the term “poetry slam” in an essay published in the July 2013 issue of Harper’s. It’s inauspicious, supposedly on the “decline of American verse,” and opens with reverence for Robert Lowell:

I was taken by the artistry of the lines [in “Waking Early Sunday Morning” (1967)], by their subtlety and their melancholy grace. I was impressed by the rhymes: “ghost” and “lost,” for instance, create exactly the right haunted and haunting sound. But it was Lowell’s ambition that impressed me; he was looking at the world as though from outer space, like a graying weary seer, and pronouncing judgment. He was calling things as he believed them to be not only for himself but for all his readers. And he was looking into the future.

Get through that paywall, if you can, or buy the print issue and read the rest.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, June 17th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.