Poetry has never been so rigorous and diverse, nor has its audience been so numerous and engaged. Strong words? Not if the poets are right. As Ezra Pound wrote: ‘You would think anyone wanting to know about poetry would go to someone who knew something about it.’ That’s exactly what Bloodaxe has done with this judicious and comprehensive selection of British, Irish and American manifestos by some of modern poetry’s finest practitioners.
Opening the 20th century account with Ezra Pound, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot, the book moves through key later figures including W.H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Stevie Smith and Dylan Thomas. America is richly represented too, from Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams to the influential New England poets Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath.
Strong Words then brings the issues fully up to date with over 30 specially commissioned statements from contemporary writers including Seamus Heaney, Andrew Motion, Simon Armitage, Selima Hill, Paul Muldoon and Douglas Dunn, amounting to a new overview of the poetry being written at the start of the 21st century.
For poets and readers, for critics, teachers and students of creative writing and contemporary poetry, this is essential reading. As well as representing many of the most important poets of the last hundred years, Strong Words also charts many different stances and movements, from Modernism to Postmodernism, from Futurism to the future theories of poetry. This landmark book champions the continuing dialogue of these voices, past and present, exploring the strongest form that words can take: the poem.
‘Utterly compelling…Strong Words brings together a diverse collection of essential commentaries in a single volume’ – Duncan Wu, BBC Radio 3 Book of the Month.
'As good a Bible as any' – Poetry Review.
'An erudite and sophisticated book, a mosaic of the 20th century's stylistic variety and formal ingenuity' – Scotland on Sunday.
'Indispensible' – Financial Times.
'One turns to verse after reading Strong Words with new energy, inspiration and insight' – Times Literary Supplement.