Essays that explore the art and craft of Frank Bidart's poetry, with an interview with the poet

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Frank Bidart has always defied expectation and convention without ever sounding conscious of such an effort or veering into self-parody. Bidart’s poetry is often all at once deeply generous of spirit, terrifyingly beautiful, and verging on the ecstatic in its glimpse of great turbulence just beneath the surface. Rhythmically Bidart possesses an astute sense of the music of speech, both on the page and in the ear—proving again Frost’s assertion that “a dramatic necessity goes deep into the nature of the sentence.” In the process Bidart forges a unique and uniquely American voice that combines, writes Seamus Heaney in one of this book’s essays, “a Dantesque severity with an immediacy of voice and a contemporaneity of idiom that [is] as alive to the resources of the tape-deck as it [is] to the tradition of terza rima.”


This collection of essays from thirty-six poets and writers puts Bidart in perspective for his numerous longtime readers and is sure to draw new adherents to one of our greatest living poets.


Contributors include:

Sven Birkerts

Elizabeth Bishop

Michael Chabon

Louise Glück

Donald Hall

Seamus Heaney

David Lehman

Robert Lowell

Robert Pinsky

Edmund White

and more

Frank Bidart is Professor of English at Wellesley College. He published his first book of poems, Golden State, in 1973, and has subsequently published many critically-acclaimed volumes, including The Sacrifice and Desire. Winner of numerous awards, including the Paris Review's first Bernard F. Conners Prize, Bidart is considered one of the nation's preeminent literary figures.

Liam Rector is the director of the graduate Writing Seminars at Bennington College. His books of poems include The Sorrow of Architecture, American Prodigal, and The Executive Director of the Fallen World. Tree Swenson is the Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets. She was previously the Publisher and Executive Director of Copper Canyon Press, which she cofounded in 1972. Swenson lives in New York City.