The Poetics of the Everyday

Creative Repetition in Modern American Verse

Siobhan Phillips

Columbia University Press

The Poetics of the Everyday

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Pub Date: December 2009

ISBN: 9780231149303

336 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£49.95

Pub Date: December 2009

ISBN: 9780231520294

336 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $59.99£49.95

The Poetics of the Everyday

Creative Repetition in Modern American Verse

Siobhan Phillips

Columbia University Press

Wallace Stevens once described the "malady of the quotidian," lamenting the dull weight of everyday regimen. Yet he would later hail "that which is always beginning, over and over"—recognizing, if not celebrating, the possibility of fresh invention.

Focusing on the poems of Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, and James Merrill, Siobhan Phillips positions everyday time as a vital category in modernist aesthetics, American literature, and poetic theory. She eloquently reveals how, through particular but related means, each of these poets converts the necessity of quotidian experience into an aesthetic and experiential opportunity. In Stevens, Phillips analyzes the implications of cyclic dualism. In Frost, she explains the theoretical depth of a habitual "middle way." In Bishop's work, she identifies the attempt to turn recurrent mornings into a "ceremony" rather than a sentence, and in Merrill, she shows how cosmic theories rely on daily habits.

Phillips ultimately demonstrates that a poetics of everyday time contributes not only to a richer understanding of these four writers but also to descriptions of their era, estimations of their genre, and ongoing reconfigurations of the issues that literature reflects and illuminates.
A compelling study of the function of "everyday time" in the works of Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, and James Merril... Recommended. Choice
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Poetics of Everyday Time
1. The Middle Living of Robert Frost
2. The Faithful Mode of Wallace Stevens
3. The Everyday Elegies of Elizabeth Bishop
4. The Cosmic Dawnings of James Merrill
Conclusion: Everyday Pasts and Everyday Futures
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Web Features:

About the Author

Siobhan Phillips earned her Ph.D. at Yale University and is a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. Her writing has appeared in PMLA, Prospect, and Hudson Review.