The Force of Poetry
Christopher Ricks is one of the best-known living critics of English, and was described by W. H. Auden as `the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding'. Though published indepenently over many years, each of the essays in this collection of his writings asks how a poets words reveal the `force of poetry', that force - in Dr Johnson's words - `which calls new power into being, which embodies sentiment, and animates matter'. The poets covered range from John Gower, Marvell, and Milton to Wordsworth, Empson, Stevie Smith, Lowell, and Larkin, and the book contains four wider essays on cliches, lies, misquotations, and American English.
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