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Last Looks, Last Books: Stevens, Plath, Lowell, Bishop, Merrill

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In "Last Looks, Last Books," the eminent critic Helen Vendler examines the ways in which five great modern American poets, writing their final books, try to find a style that does justice to life and death alike. With traditional religious consolations no longer available to them, these poets must invent new ways to express the crisis of death, as well as the paradoxical coexistence of a declining body and an undiminished consciousness. In "The Rock," Wallace Stevens writes simultaneous narratives of winter and spring; in ...

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