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In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations

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Collected here are sixteen essays on poets and poetry, the writing life, and a host of fascinating topics that come into the wide range of Marianne Boruch’s attention. She examines how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Theodore Roethke, from Russell Edson to Larry Levis, from Walt Whitman to Eavan Boland. Combini Collected here are sixteen essays on poets and poetry, the writing life, and a host of fascinating topics that come into the wide range of Marianne Boruch’s attention. She examines how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Theodore Roethke, from Russell Edson to Larry Levis, from Walt Whitman to Eavan Boland. Combining a richly associative personal style with original insights on poetic texts and historical and cultural musing, Boruch considers how the atomic bomb changed William Carlos Williams’s deepest ambition for poetry, and how Edison’s listening, through his famous deafness, informs our sense of the poetic line. Other essays explore how the car—its danger and solitude—helps us understand American poetry or how Dvorak and Whitman shared darker things than their curious love for trains. Poetry transforms, changing over time in the work of individual poets as well as changing us as we read it or write it. Boruch’s writing has a musical, incantatory style, creating a mood in which many of her subjects are immersed. Her approach isn’t meant to fix or crystallize her ideas in any hard and fast light, but rather to present the music of her thinking.


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Collected here are sixteen essays on poets and poetry, the writing life, and a host of fascinating topics that come into the wide range of Marianne Boruch’s attention. She examines how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Theodore Roethke, from Russell Edson to Larry Levis, from Walt Whitman to Eavan Boland. Combini Collected here are sixteen essays on poets and poetry, the writing life, and a host of fascinating topics that come into the wide range of Marianne Boruch’s attention. She examines how the imagination works with mystery and surprise in a variety of poets from Elizabeth Bishop to Theodore Roethke, from Russell Edson to Larry Levis, from Walt Whitman to Eavan Boland. Combining a richly associative personal style with original insights on poetic texts and historical and cultural musing, Boruch considers how the atomic bomb changed William Carlos Williams’s deepest ambition for poetry, and how Edison’s listening, through his famous deafness, informs our sense of the poetic line. Other essays explore how the car—its danger and solitude—helps us understand American poetry or how Dvorak and Whitman shared darker things than their curious love for trains. Poetry transforms, changing over time in the work of individual poets as well as changing us as we read it or write it. Boruch’s writing has a musical, incantatory style, creating a mood in which many of her subjects are immersed. Her approach isn’t meant to fix or crystallize her ideas in any hard and fast light, but rather to present the music of her thinking.

30 review for In the Blue Pharmacy: Essays on Poetry and Other Transformations

  1. 5 out of 5

    Heather Gibbons

    Marianne's voice is one to trust. I particularly enjoyed the craft essays "Line and Room" and "Poetry's Over and Over," and "Poets in Cars" is very smart and wise and will give you plenty to think about, even if you're a non-poet. Her reading of Russell Edson, "Edson's Head" was less successful for me, I guess because I didn't think the essay contained nearly as many revelations or fresh insights as some of the others. I love Edson, and was perhaps most interested in this essay when I originally Marianne's voice is one to trust. I particularly enjoyed the craft essays "Line and Room" and "Poetry's Over and Over," and "Poets in Cars" is very smart and wise and will give you plenty to think about, even if you're a non-poet. Her reading of Russell Edson, "Edson's Head" was less successful for me, I guess because I didn't think the essay contained nearly as many revelations or fresh insights as some of the others. I love Edson, and was perhaps most interested in this essay when I originally perused the collection, so maybe my expectations were too high? Regardless, an enjoyable and intelligent collection.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin Malone

    I like Boruch's own poems, and I liked her essays in this book: thoughtful, personal and scholarly without being stuffy. I like Boruch's own poems, and I liked her essays in this book: thoughtful, personal and scholarly without being stuffy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leia Penina

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna Lowe

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marie

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jessie McMains

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pat Johnson

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zunaira Butt

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robert Jonte

  15. 5 out of 5

    Norm Jenson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tess

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beth Marzoni

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn Hembree

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lily

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate Murr

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sara Lamers Messink

  23. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brian Teare

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Burdak

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Julian

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kat Neis

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mark

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