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Helen Vendler

Author of The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets

30+ Works 2,216 Members 11 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Helen Vendler is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University. Her other Harvard books include Soul Says: On Recent Poetry; The Odes of John Keats; The Given and the Made: Strategies of Poetic Redefinition; and Seamus Heaney.

Works by Helen Vendler

Seamus Heaney (1998) 120 copies
Soul Says: On Recent Poetry (1995) 58 copies

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Reading Helen Vendler as she discusses poets and their poetry is like sitting with your favorite professor, one not stuffy though erudite, one brilliant but clear. I may not agree with her exegesis of a given poem or her ultimate judgement on the worth of a given poet's work, I have to face that fact of her cogent arguments. Vendler seems to love poetry so much more than many critics who spend their time demonstrating their superiority to the art their discuss. I enjoy reading her essays and explications nearly as much as I do the poetry itself.… (more)
 
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dasam | Jun 20, 2018 |
I want to take a class taught by Helen Vendler. It would not be an easy A. Instead, it would challenge and open new doors and windows into some of my favorite poets. Vendler is the poet's great reader, one who spends time and effort rereading and rereading again, studying the structure, asking why the poet went this way instead of that. She is a student of form and its revelatory impact on content.

In this book, Vendler makes an intense study of Yeats, form by form, seeking to understand his choices whether conscious or not, explicating the impact of choice on each poem and of the poem on the form. Not an introduction to Yeats but rather a fine advanced study for those who have already spent some time with his poetry. If that's you, then read this book.… (more)
 
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dasam | Jul 25, 2017 |
Emily Dicksinson's poetry was unlike just about everything being written at the time by her more famous mostly male contemporaries. She distilled complexities of experience and emotion into language that truly told it slant. Her verse is like Shakespeare's sonnets which are are at their most difficult because they contain deep and sometimes contradictory emotion.

Helen Vendler proves again to be a great companion for the reader, unpacking and guiding. The best way to read this selection is to read each poem, Vendler's commentary, and then reread that poem once or twice more. Windows open. I cannot say I always agree with Vendler's interpretations, but they are always illuminating.… (more)
 
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dasam | 1 other review | Jul 25, 2017 |

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