The Book of Samuel: Essays on Poetry and Imagination
by Mark Rudman
Crisis, breakdown, rejuvenation: this is the territory of poetry that Rudman takes readers into with this set of essays. Constructed as a series of ... Show synopsis Crisis, breakdown, rejuvenation: this is the territory of poetry that Rudman takes readers into with this set of essays. Constructed as a series of character studies, the essays are rooted in autobiographical material with biographical counterpoints, tying the poets distinctly to places. Even as they are placed, however, they are displaced: Rudman's subjects, from D.H. Lawrence to Czeslaw Milosz to T. S. Eliot, are almost all exiles, either geographically or within themselves. This exile spins anger into energy, transmuting emotion into imagination the same way that Passaic Falls, known to William Carlos Williams, turns water into power. The mosaic style of the essays touches on nerve after nerve, avoiding the snags of academic jargon to ease towards an illuminating truth about the artists' shifting work and worlds. Some of the Samuels--Beckett and Fuller--were able to navigate these shifts, while others--Coleridge and Johnson--are shown to be less able to transmute their energy into motion.