Break, Blow, Burn: Camille Paglia Reads Forty-Three of the World's Best Poems
America's most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition--and unearths some previously obscure verses worthy of a place in our canon. Combining close reading with a panoramic breadth of learning, Camille Paglia sharpens our understanding of poems we thought we knew, from Shakespeare to Dickinson to Plath, and makes a case for including in the canon works by Paul Blackburn, Wanda Coleman, Chuck Wachtel, Rochelle Kraut--and even Joni Mitchell. Daring, riveting, and beautifully written, Break, Blow, Burn is a modern classic that excites even seasoned poetry lovers--and continues to create generations of new ones.
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"She flies as high as you can go. . . . Bold and convincing. . . . Exemplary. . . . A rich book."
-The New York Times Book Review
"The chapter on Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy' will take the top of your head off!" -James Wolcott
"As entertaining as it is dazzingly erudite, Break, Blow, Burn is capable of re-energizing any reader's engagement with poetry."
-Francine du Plessix Gray, The Week
"I hope a lot of people read this book. . . . There wasn't a commentary where I didn't learn something about the poem in question, no matter how familiar the poem was." -Philip Marchand, Toronto Star
"It will have students storming the walls of tomorrow's English departments, mad for poetry again." -St. Petersburg Times
"Dazzling. . . . Bursts with her ingenuity. . . . Brilliant insights . . . permeate the book. . . . Readers receive a marvelous education."
-Rocky Mountain News
"Paglia's vision is always fresh. . . . She makes a fascinating and challenging reading companion. These essays will inspire anyone to turn back to poetry again." -The Times (London)