Camille Paglia

Reading and playing

Scholars and critics too initiate “transpositions.” Even a casual observation can make a familiar poem appear in a new light, for example when Helen Vendler wonders, in her review of Wallace Stevens’s Selected Poems, what we would make of “The Snow Man” if it had been called “Stoicism in a Failed Marriage.” Sometimes such interventions go further, transforming our ideas about not only what a poem means but what it does and even what it is. This happened to me many times when I was reading Don Bialostosky’s How to Play a Poem, recently published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Geomantic riposte: 'Oyama Pink Shale'

Born in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, and currently an inhabitant of the Okanagan “wild” in Kelowna BC, and self-identified in the company of poet George Stanley as a staunch “aboutist,” Sharon Thesen is indeed a literary rara avis whose score of witty, entertaining and insightful poetry books are balanced by solid editorial and academic contributions, including two editions of The New Long Poem Anthology, a Governor-General’s Award-winning edition of Phyllis Webb’s poetry (The Vision Tree), and with co-editor Ralph Maud, two books of correspondences between the poet Charles Olson and book designer Frances Boldereff — the most recent being After Completion: The Later Letters of Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff.

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