Marianne Boruch is one of America's finest contemporary poets, and as she demonstrates in Poetry's Old Air, she is also a marvelous essayist. Weaving together close readings, biographical detail, and personal reflections, Boruch meditates on a universal fascination: how a poem comes to exist.
A variety of imaginative approaches sets the essays apart from strictly academic poetry criticism. Boruch's ear for metaphor and attention to everyday experience enrich her readings of others' work. The unique connections she draws to the world beyond the literary one- including comparisons to painting and ceramics, the habits of bees, and the basic elements of musical composition- bring other ways of seeing and thinking to bear on the writing process itself. Instead of building her arguments and observations around a single thesis, Boruch borrows freely from other areas of human knowledge and experience, allowing essays to develop gradually and "waywardly," as a poem is made.
Poets, teachers of literature, and students of writing and literature, as well as the general reader, will appreciate the insights of Poetry's Old Air, as will the general reader, for whom these essays are entirely accessible.
Marianne Boruch is the author of six acclaimed volumes of poetry, including Poems: New and Selected (Oberlin, 2004), and Grace, Fallen from (Wesleyan, 2008). A second book of essays on poetry, In the Blue Pharmacy, appeared in 2005 from Trinity. A former NEA and Guggenheim fellow, she is a Professor of English at Purdue University and also teaches in the low-residency MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.