In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations

In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations

by Marianne Boruch

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Overview

Celebrated poet and essayist Marianne Boruch ponders poets and poetry, examining how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of writers. Combining a richly associative style with original insights on poetic texts, she brings in material from other worlds—among them, science and music—to demonstrate the myriad ways we transform experience and knowledge.

The sixteen essays here explore poets and poetry, the writing life, and a host of fascinating topics that come into the wide range of Boruch’s attention. She looks at how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Theodore Roethke, from Russell Edson to Larry Levis, from Walt Whitman to Eavan Boland. She considers how the atomic bomb changed William Carlos Williams’s deepest ambition for poetry, and how Edison’s listening, through his famous deafness, informs our sense of the poetic line. Other essays explore how the car—its danger and solitude—helps us understand American poetry or how Dvořák and Whitman shared darker things than their curious love for trains. Poetry transforms, changing over time in the work of individual poets as well as changing us as we read it or write it.

Boruch’s writing has a kind of musical, incantatory style, creating a mood in which many of her subjects are immersed. Her approach isn’t meant to fix or crystallize her ideas in any hard and fast light, but rather to present the music of her thinking, its movement, its poetry. Boruch brings in personal memory and philosophical speculation, infusing much of this writing with slightly skewed skepticism and rueful uncertainty about one’s ability to be absolute about anything, least of all poetry. She recognizes that much of the process of writing poetry is as mysterious as the power at the heart of a poem, and it’s that mystery that fascinates both the writer and the reader. These essays start in passion and quietude—and curiosity, that willful not knowing, a process similar to how poems themselves begin, and keep going.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595340900
Publisher: Trinity University Press
Publication date: 04/14/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Marianne Boruch is the author of five poetry collections and the essay collection Poetry’s Old Air. She has published poems and essays widely in the Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Nation, and other magazines. She teaches in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and in the Department of English at Purdue University, and lives in Purdue, Indiana.

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