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Line Break: Poetry as Social Practice [Paperback]

By James Scully & Adrienne Cecile Rich (Foreward By)
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Item description for Line Break: Poetry as Social Practice by James Scully & Adrienne Cecile Rich...

Line Break is the major work on poetry as social practice and a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary criticism or poetry. For many years, James Scully, along with others, quietly radicalized American poetry -in theory and in practice, in how it is lived as well as in how it is written. In eight provocative essays, James Scully argues provocatively for artistic and cultural practice that actively opposes structures of power too often reinforced by intellectual activities.

"James Scully's essays, like his poems, refuse to soothe or simplify, to shortchange either poetry or the imperative for social revolution. His fiercely demystifying intelligence is grounded in hope and realism for poetry in itself along with other forms of dissident engagement."-Adrienne Rich

"Scully's brilliance is mesmerizing, radicalizing, a power plant producing synapses in the mind politic' that may well allow Americans, finally, to write and discourse with our kind around the globe. If American poets have a role to play in preserving free speech in the 21st century, this book belongs in our every backpack."-Linda McCarriston

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Item Specifications...

Pages   169
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2005
Publisher   Curbstone Press
ISBN  1931896186  
ISBN13  9781931896184  

Availability  0 units.

More About James Scully & Adrienne Cecile Rich

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! For many years, James Scully, along with others, quietly radicalized American poetry -in theory and in practice, in how it is lived as well as in how it is written. He was born in New Haven, CT. Professor Emeritus of the University of Connecticut, he has won numerous honors, including a Lamont Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He lives in San Francisco.

James Scully has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Greek Tragedy in New Translations (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > History & Criticism > Criticism & Theory > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Line Break: Poetry as Social Practice?

Needed: one Update  Jul 4, 2006
If they're going to be reprinting this book, why not ask the author to update it a little. In "Taking Poetry Seriously," Scully addresses this issue only to dismiss it with the other hand, even as he admits that "Geopolitically and technologically, much has changed since these essays were written some 15-20 years ago. Upheavals on virtually every level have only made the aesthetic question less discrete, more implicated in just about everything, than it ever was supposed to be." And yet he does nothing about it, just releases the same eight essays which, if you're reading them through, all share the same dated air, some of them so dated as to be worthless for readers of the 21st century.

Well, you're never going to convince me that Roque Dalton was the great poet of modernism anyhow. But as you can see in the sentences quoted above, Scully's prose is often an imprecise arena where accidents occur. Could anything be more vague than his use of "just about everything" above? Or, when was there a time when the "aesthetic question" was ever less than fully implicated, even if in a "noblesse oblige" way, in questions of social justice?

Scully's influence is vast and it is owing to him, I think, that we have seen a gradual lessening of the "privilege of individual experience" around which so much of our lyric poetry was written. And yet it's all the sadder that he couldn't bestir himself to update his remarks, incidental and otherwise, on Cuba, Iraq, the geosphere, postcolonial implications of post-impressionism in art and writing, and the technological wonderland of the internet. Needed: one update.
essays by a poet breaking down arbitrary walls and mistaken assumptions  Aug 3, 2005
Scully says that in the eight essays he means to question the "fetishes we find ourselves wearing like ankle bracelets...that enable cultural overseers to shut us up in a kind of house arrest." Adrienne Rich remarks in her "Foreword" on this poet's "fiercely demystifying intelligence." Yes, Scully fiercely, uncompromisingly, brings his hopes for a truly, thoroughly humane world into the light. Such hopes are often preceded by trenchant, riveting critiques on writings, ideas, and states of affairs; and sometimes the hopes are bound in with these in a struggle. Such struggling especially is the sign that besides having a cogent moral sense and articulated vision, Scully is a consummate realist. He does not abandon common, inevitable life for promises, visions, or programs of a heavenly life. What he surely does bring to light is the true notion that "ankle bracelets" need not be an inevitable or permanent part of life, nor be the defining attribute of it. The essays mostly and ostensibly about poetry, writing style, expression and all its sources and destinations are in a larger sense and ultimately about larger life than most are accustomed to, and than most can even conceive of. The essays packed with serious and reflective thought, earnest with teaching and persuasion, and buoyant with inspiration and possibility demonstrate once again that the best writing on politics, culture, and individual life and its choices usually comes from accomplished poets such as Scully. Essays of Seamus Heaney are another example.

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