A Brighter Word Than Bright: Keats at Work

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University of Iowa Press, Sep 1, 2013 - Literary Criticism - 184 pages
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The Romantic poet John Keats, considered by many as one of the greatest poets in the English language, has long been the subject of attention from scholars who seek to understand him and poets who seek to emulate him. Bridging these impulses, A Brighter Word Than Bright is neither historical biography nor scholarly study, but instead a biography of Keats’s poetic imagination. Here the noted poet Dan Beachy-Quick enters into Keats’s writing—both his letters and his poems—not to critique or judge, not to claim or argue, but to embrace the passion and quickness of his poetry and engage the aesthetic difficulties with which Keats grappled.
Combining a set of biographical portraits that place symbolic pressure on key moments in Keats’s life with a chronological examination of the development of Keats-as-poet through his poems and letters, Beachy-Quick explores the growth of the young man’s poetic imagination during the years of his writing life, from 1816 to 1820. A Brighter Word Than Bright aims to enter the poems and the mind that wrote them, to explore and mine Keats’s poetic concerns and ambitions. It is a mimetic tribute to the poet’s life and work, a brilliant enactment that is also a thoughtful consideration.

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About the author (2013)

Dan Beachy-Quick is an associate professor of English at Colorado State University. His most recent poetry collection, Circle’s Apprentice, won the 2012 Colorado Book Award in Poetry and was named a notable book by the Academy of American Poets. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, he has authored several other books of poetry as well as collections of essays and short fiction, including Work from Memory, Wonderful Investigations, and A Whaler’s Dictionary. He has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN Prize in Literature for Poetry, and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Prize, and his work has been supported by the Lannan Foundation. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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