The American Poetry Book


This pioneering collection of new essays challenges established modes of reading American lyric poetry, by orientating interpretation so that it incorporates an awareness of the book context in which individual poems are embedded. These essays critically explore individual books by Walt Whitman, Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, Randall Jarrell, Robert Lowell, Adrienne Rich, Susan Howe, Lyn Hejinian and Jorie Graham, and consider the book as a restrictive, “binding” concept for Emily Dickinson and some contemporary American poets. Rebound both provides innovative readings of supposedly familiar poets and books, and also generates critical strategies for renewed engagement with American poetry traditions. As a “speaking whole” Rebound addresses a rich variety of topics: intentionality as hermeneutic; the architecture and artefacture of the book; gender identity and the book; the positioning of the book in postmodern poetics; the consequences of textual history for interpretation and reception; and the American poetry book as metonym for nation. Contributors: Domhnall Mitchell, Eldrid Herrington, Charles Altieri, Stephen Matterson, Stephen Wilson, Maria Irene Ramalho De Sousa Santos, Ron Callan, Michael Hinds, Gareth Reeves, Lucy Collins, Justin Quinn, Nerys Williams and Nick Selby. Charles Bernstein’s “The Book as Architecture” is reprinted as an Afterword.

Biographical Note

Michael Hinds has taught at various institutions, including Trinity College Dublin and the University of Tokyo, and is currently teaching English and American Literature at the Mater Dei Institute, Dublin City University. He is a regular contributor to Metre, is editor of the journal REA and co-editor of the Irish Journal of American Studies.

Review Quotes

”Binding, rebinding, unbinding: these essays offer fascinating insights into writers’ very different and frequently ambivalent attitudes to the poetry book.” in: Modern Language Review, Vol. 102, No. 2, 2007
“…welcome collection on the poetics of book making…” in: Anglia, Band 124, Heft 2, 2006

Table of contents

Michael HINDS and Stephen MATTERSON: Introduction: A Speaking Whole 1 Domhnall MITCHELL: Binding Emily Dickinson 2 Eldrid HERRINGTON: Fit Compositions: Whitman’s Revisions to Drum-Taps 3 Stephen MATTERSON: “To make it mean me”: Narrative Design in North of Boston 4 Stephen WILSON: Lustra: Work and Text 5 Charles ALTIERI: Intentionality as Sensuality in Harmonium 6 Maria Irene RAMALHO DE SOUSA SANTOS: The Accidental Bridge: Hart Crane’s Theory of the Lyric 7 Ron CALLAN: William Carlos Williams’s An Early Martyr: The Descent Beckons 8 Michael HINDS: The 1955 Selected Poems: Randall Jarrell’s Book of the Dead 9 Gareth REEVES: It’s life in death to be bound, delivered, published”: Robert Lowell’s Revisions of Notebook 1967–68 10 Lucy COLLINS: “Our lives inseparable”: The Contingent World of Adrienne Rich’s Twenty-One Love Poems 11 Justin QUINN: Empire, Sublimity, and the Look of Things in Amy Clampitt’s The Kingfisher 12 Nerys WILLIAMS: “What I wanted was nothing to do with monuments”: Erring and Lyn Hejinian’s The Guard 13 Nick SELBY: Prometheans Unbound: Touching Books in Jorie Graham’s Swarm and Susan Howe’s “Scattering As Behaviour Toward Risk” Charles BERNSTEIN: Afterword: The Book as Architecture Notes on Contributors Index