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Deaths of the Poets by Michael Symmons…
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Deaths of the Poets

by Michael Symmons Roberts

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0224097547, Hardcover)

From Chatterton’s Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats’ death-warrant in a smudge of arterial blood; from Dylan Thomas’ eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plath’s desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen or John Berryman’s leap from a bridge onto the frozen Mississippi, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work.

The post-Romantic myth of the dissolute drunken poet – exemplified by Thomas and made iconic by his death in New York – has fatally skewed the image of poets in our culture. Novelists can be stable, savvy, politically adept and in-control, but poets should be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive. Is this just a myth, or is there some essential truth behind it: that great poems only come when a poet's life is pushed right to an emotional knife-edge of acceptability, safety, security? What is the price of poetry?

In this book, two contemporary poets undertake a series of journeys – across Britain, America and Europe – to the death places of poets of the past, in part as pilgrims, honouring inspirational writers, but also as investigators, interrogating the myth. The result is a book that is, in turn, enlightening and provocative, eye-wateringly funny and powerfully moving.

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 05 Feb 2017 05:59:35 -0500)

"From Chattertons Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats death-warrant in a smudge of arterial blood; from Dylan Thomas eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plaths desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen or John Berrymans leap from a bridge onto the frozen Mississippi, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work. The post-Romantic myth of the dissolute drunken poet exemplified by Thomas and made iconic by his death in New York has fatally skewed the image of poets in our culture. Novelists can be stable, savvy, politically adept and in-control, but poets should be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive. Is this just a myth, or is there some essential truth behind it: that great poems only come when a poet's life is pushed right to an emotional knife-edge of acceptability, safety, security? What is the price of poetry? In this book, two contemporary poets undertake a series of journeys across Britain, America and Europe to the death places of poets of the past, in part as pilgrims, honouring inspirational writers, but also as investigators, interrogating the myth. The result is a book that is, in turn, enlightening and provocative, eye-wateringly funny and powerfully moving"--Dust jacket.… (more)

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