Companion Spider: Essays

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Wesleyan University Press, 2001 - Literary Collections - 333 pages
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Companion Spider is the accumulated work of a poet and translator who goes more deeply into the art and its process and demands than anyone since Robert Duncan. Clayton Eshleman is one of our most admired and controversial poets, the translator of such great international poets as César Vallejo, Aimé Césaire and Antonin Artaud, and founder and editor of two important literary magazines, Sulfur and Caterpillar. As such, Eshleman writes about the vocation of poet and of the poet as translator as no one else in America today; he believes adamantly that art must concern itself with vision, and that poets learn best by an apprenticeship that is a kind of immersion in the work of other poets.

Companion Spider opens with a unique eighty page essay called "Novices: A Study of Poetic Apprenticeship" addressed to the poet who is just starting out. Subsequent sections take up the art of translation, poets and their work, and literary magazine editing. The title is drawn from an extraordinary visionary experience which the author had, which becomes a potent metaphor for the creative process. Through the variety of poets and artists to whom he pays homage, Eshleman suggests a community which is not of a single place or time; rather, there is mutual recognition and responsiveness, so that the reader becomes aware of a range of artistic practices s/he might explore

Ebook Edition Note: The essay, “Gull Wall,” has been redacted.

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User Review  - Nycticebus - LibraryThing

In her foreword to this book of essays and critiques, Adrienne Rich refers to Eshleman's "prodigious empathetic capability." Having dipped into this volume but not read every word, I would certainly ... Read full review

Companion spider: essays

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

A poet, translator, and founder of the groundbreaking literary magazines Sulfur and Caterpillar, Eshleman says that writers don't need workshops but gravitate toward them anyway, because they are ... Read full review


The Gull Wall
Remarks to a Poetry Workshop
Companion Spider
A Tribute to Americo Ferrari
Introduction to Watchfiends Rack Screams
Artauds True Family Glimpsed at Pompidou
Padgett the Collaborator
The Gospel According to Norton
Complexities of Witness
What Is American About American Poetry?
From an Interview with Duane Davis for Waste Paper 1993
From an Interview with Keith Tuma for Contemporary
Clayton Eshleman 1999

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About the author (2001)

The recipient of The National Book Award in 1979 for his co-translation of Cesar Vallejo's Complete Posthumous Poetry, Clayton Eshleman founded and edited two seminal and highly-regarded literary journals, Caterpillar (1967 - 1973) and Sulfur (1982 - 2000). Eshleman has published twelve books of original poetry, two volumes of essays, and translations of Vallejo, Cesaire, Neruda, Artaud, Holan and Deguy. Award-winning poet, feminist thinker and political activist Adrienne Rich is the author of many books, most recently Midnight Salvage: Poems 1995 - 1998 (1999).

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