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Against the Grain: The Literary Life of a Poet, a Memoir by Reed Whittemore [Hardcover]

By Reed Whittemore & Garrison Keillor (Foreward By)
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Item description for Against the Grain: The Literary Life of a Poet, a Memoir by Reed Whittemore by Reed Whittemore & Garrison Keillor...

Prolific poet and essayist, teacher, poetry consultant to the Library of Congress, Reed Whittemore began his literary life in the late 1930s when he and Yale roommate James Angleton founded the poetry magazine Furioso---whose pages saw the publication of Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, and ee cummings, among others. This remarkable memoir chronicles the life and times of this self-considered "bourgeois anarchist," whose storied career included four wartime years in North Africa and Europe, as well as a second run of Furioso, which Victor Navasky called "the ne plus ultra of little mags."
While teaching at Carleton College, Whittemore continued his pursuit of poetry, essays, reviews, and literary magazines, eventually becoming instrumental to the founding of the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines. In the mid-1960s, Whittemore and his family moved to Washington, where he became active in Artists of Conscience against the Vietnam War. He went on to serve as literary editor of the New Republic until leaving to write a biography of William Carlos Williams and teach at the University of Maryland, all the while publishing the National Book Award--nominated poetry and essays that made his name---and even restarting Delos, a journal of world literature and translation. Against the Grain presents the memorable and brilliant life of this twentieth-century original.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   338
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.25" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.55 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 22, 2007
Publisher   Dryad Press, in association with U of Alaska Press
ISBN  1928755097  
ISBN13  9781928755098  

Availability  0 units.

More About Reed Whittemore & Garrison Keillor

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Authors
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Against the Grain: The Literary Life of a Poet, a Memoir by Reed Whittemore?

Twentieth Century Poet  Mar 20, 2008
A dear friend years ago was very impressed that I had been taught Modern Poetry by Reed Whittemore. Casual as I was about the excellent education I was privileged to gain at Carleton, I had, until then, taken for granted having a "real" poet teaching poetry. Later, (possibly at my 25th reunion) I learned Mr. Whittemore was living in Washington, had a fatal disease, and was not expected to live. I was saddened. Imagine my surprise to find an autobiography written only last year, news of his death having been premature.

I remember Mr. Whittemore as a good and fair teacher. Modern Poetry I remember as being written in code requiring reference books and historical knowledge to decode. We, with the intellectual snobbery that very bright young people have, relished the decoding. Only after college did I revert to my true self, a pragmatic, prosaic, positivist. It was as this latter person I started the autobiography.

Why, I wondered all the angst from establishment figures who attended Andover or Yale? Why were these modern poets complaining about teachers of English? The modern poets bent the language to their will, punctuated almost as if the marks were decoration in a graphic, invented new words, and obscured truths into something that needed decoding.

I stuck with the book despite my impatience because of my fondness for a teacher. I am glad I did. Just as we all have grown through the years, so has Reed Whittemore with maturing poetry and increasing life experiences. The book itself got better the more I read. I suggest reading the book. He is one of America's best Modern Poets, and he has most of the rest of them as friends.


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