Invisible Listeners: Lyric Intimacy in Herbert, Whitman, and Ashbery

by

When a poet addresses a living person--whether friend or enemy, lover or sister--we recognize the expression of intimacy. But what impels poets to leap across time and space to speak to invisible listeners, seeking an ideal intimacy--George Herbert with God, Walt Whitman with a reader in the future, John Ashbery with the Renaissance painter Francesco Parmigianino? In "Invisible Listeners," Helen Vendler argues that such poets must invent the language that will enact, on the page, an intimacy they lack in life. Through ...

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