Late Poems, 1968-1990: Attitudinizing Verse-wise, While Fending for One's Selph, and in a Style Somewhat Artificially Colloquial
By: Kenneth Burke (author), David Blakesley (editor), Julie Whitaker (editor)Hardback
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Kenneth Burke continued to write poetry after the 1968 publication of his Collected Poems, but until now the poetry from the last quarter century of his life has remained largely unpublished, hiding in the mass of papers at his farmhouse in Andover, New Jersey. Suggesting that the Burke canon is not complete without these works, Julie Whitaker and David Blakesley here assemble the poems that the celebrated critic wrote between 1968 and his death. The collection of more than 150 poems provides new evidence that Burke continued "dancing an attitude" until the end of his life. In his introduction, Blakesley lays out the relationship between the poems and Burkean theory, including the evolution of both during the writer's last three decades. Although some of these poems clearly resonate best in light of Burke's more prominent works on rhetoric and literary criticism, Blakesley argues that it would be a disservice to attribute the poetry's value strictly to what it says about Burkean theory.
These poems reveal much about the man himself: an accomplished scholar reflecting on the richness of a life fully lived, a husband eloquently struggling with the death of his wife, a voracious thinker looking eagerly to the future. The poems take to heart Burke's pronouncement made in The Philosophy of Literary Form, that the poet enacts literature as equipment for living. In her preface, Whitaker explains the principles she employed in sifting through the vast quantity of articles, papers, and letters to uncover Burke's later poems. She also discloses Burke's intent to collect and publish another volume of poetry, touches on her personal relationship with him, and offers her observations on the place poetry held in his life and thought.
(Deceased.) Writer of poetry, short stories, and a novel in addition to more than a dozen books of critical theory. His work as a theorist of rhetoric and culture profoundly influenced generations of poets, literary theorists, novelists, linguists, and rhetoricians. Whitaker: (New York, NY) Daughter-in-law of Kenneth Burke. Teaches literature and writing at the Nightingale-Bamford School in New York. Blakesley: (West Lafayette, IN) Associate Professor of English, Purdue University Author of The Elements of Dramatism and the editor of The Terministic Screen: Rhetorical Perspectives on Film. Author of Taking Burke On(line): The Kenneth Burke Bibliography and Archival Project.
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