America’s most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition—and unearths. Break, Blow, Burn By Camille Paglia. pp. Pantheon Books. $ CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know. CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know very much about poetry, Camille Paglia’s new book anthologizes

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It isn’t just a fine selection of works, but Paglia includes essays giving context and commentary. This is one of those books that I respected much more than I enjoyed. The Essential Essays, Stay in Touch Sign up. Adam McKay’s gonzo Dick Cheney biopic satire, Vice, won’t be compared to Shakespeare, but it shares the Bard’s disinterest in supervillains’ motivations.

She might make a start with bitchery, for which she has a taste but no touch. As the selections approach the present, they grow stranger and harder to defend. Paglia’s enthusiasm for poetry is infectious, and her respect for these great works led her to make an aesthetic decision that I can’t praise highly enough.

Let the poem speak. John Donne, Holy Sonnet I 6. Her pay’s mingy, her apartment’s a dump, and despite all that, she should lighten up! Sep 27, Karen rated it it was amazing.

This book on poetry is aimed at a generation of young people who, knowing nothing except images, are cut off from the ”mother ship” of culture. I had previously read rumors that she was penning a sequel to Sexual Personae that focused on contemporary society and the spectacle of paganism inherent in seemingly mundane events such as football games; I believe there was even a statement by her to that effect.


It extends the reach and depth of our consciousness, and it binds us to themes and sensations that belong to our kind over time. Thus, when we have explained the poem, we have not explained it.

Great poetry survives its critics. And why not give dates of composition or publication as a more traditional anthology would?

Camille Paglia discusses Poetry with TMO

Break, Blow, Burn Publisher: Burm are no discussion topics on this book yet. Quotes from Break, Blow, Burn. As far as instructive writing goes, Paglia’s is good.

Includes a new epilogue that details the selection process for choosing the 43 poems presented in this book and provides commentary on some of the pieces that didn’t make the final cut.

Break, Blow, Burn

It’s why she has chosen Shakespeare and Brfak Mitchell as the two bookends for “Break, Blow, Burn,” and it’s also why she continued reading poetry past the age when most Americans put it down. I don’t think Paglia represents “a voice of reason”, since the word “reason” is the last thing you want to apply to a close reading of a poet’s work. Working chronologically from then to now, the book starts with him: Their yammering stops with the door slam of the last word “dead” — the line recapitulating the more formal, teacherly title “aren’t” rather than “ain’t”.

It wasn’t enough that the national discussion on poetry was already buen and contrived, a contest between assorted second and third generation splinter groups of specialized enclaves trying to inhale bur was left of the air in the tiny room where the debate raged.

Break, Blow, Burn – Camille Paglia discusses poetry

In a classroom setting, this enchanting facet is devilishly manipulated by fatuous females and blowhard boys eager to garner that extra participation point with either a excruciatingly obvious or superfluously inane reading.


This approach has the great dividend of renovating one’s appreciation for poems caille already knows, and teasing the appetite for familiarity with those, in my case chiefly in the latter half of the book, one does not know. In her explication of Sonnet 73, she writes, “The insertion of ‘in me’ to start each quatrain gives the poem immediacy and urgency and encourages us, whether justified or not, in identifying the speaker with the poet 1, 5, 9.

The contemporary poems she does choose come from several styles and schools May Swenson’s precisionism, Gary Snyder’s Zen notation, Camillw H. The 60 Best Songs of These comparisons help to define the Post-Impressionist impulse from which all the verbal music of Stevens’s ”Man With the Blue Guitar” emerged, while incidentally reminding us that Paglia, before she made this bid on behalf of poetry, did the same for painting, and with the same treasury brrak knowledge to back up camiple endeavor.

Paglia defends Hughes against Plath, a defense that few feminists have dared to undertake. Anyone who has read Paglia heretofore knows that she thrives in polemic and is never afraid of a good fight. My daughter gave it to me as a present and I finally got to reading it earlier this year.

I am certainly not a prude and I’ve taken enough gender studies and lit classes to know that sex is hidden in a lot of art, but Camille The pestering voices are as mechanical as a broken record: