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Josephine Jacobsen, born in 1908, had her first poem published when she was just ten years old. Though Jacobsen has been writing and publishing for almost eighty years, she remained outside the literary world until she was named Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1971. She has since been honored numerous times, receiving such prestigious awards as the annual Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The Instant of Knowing: Lectures, Criticism and Occasional Prose joins recent collections of Jacobsen's poetry and short stories, bringing together for the first time the highlights of this distinguished poet's long and varied career as a literary critic, lecturer, and reviewer. Of special interest are two lectures delivered at the Library of Congress while she was Consultant in Poetry there, and a rich assortment of never before collected op-ed and travel pieces from the Baltimore Sun. The volume also includes critical pieces on Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, e.e. cummings, Robert Lowell, A.R. Ammons, Samuel Beckett, and J.D. Salinger; an unpublished lecture, "The Admiring Bog," on the perils of poetic celebrity; and an extended interview with John Wheatcroft. The book is edited and introduced by the poet Elizabeth Spires, and concludes with three recent, uncollected poems of Jacobsen's.
Josephine Jacobsen is author of In the Crevice of Time: New and Collected Poems ( 1995), a nominee for the National Book Award, and What Goes Without Saying Collected Short Stories (1996.) She continues to live and write in Baltimore.
Elizabeth Spires is a writer-in-residence, Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland, and the author of four collections of poetry.
Elizabeth Spires 1
I. Memoir and Lectures
Statement and Poetry 9
Lion under Maples 10
From Anne to Marianne: Some Women in American Poetry 22
The Instant of Knowing 39
One Poet's Poetry 50
The Admiring Bog 61
II. Reviews and Criticism
Frost, Cummings, Williams: Legacy of Three Poets 75
Poet of the Particular 84
History as Death 93
Corsons Inlet 96
Stories and "Texts" by Samuel Beckett 99
The Felicity of J. D. Salinger 101
III. Travel and Op-Ed Pieces
Atlantic City Glowed like a Jewel 109
Never Was the Play the Thing 113
Happily in Transit, Transported 116
A Kind of Beginning 119
The Meaning of Arrival 122
Where the Wild Went About 125
The Swamp's Talk 128
More White than Feathers 131
The Traveler 134
The Handless Clock 137
Why You Not Say Good Morning? 140
Openness, a Vast Confusion 143
Breaking Bread Together 146
International Aspects of the Mad Hatter 149
Mayed and Traught on a Desert Island 152
To Our Waiting Names 155
Artifacts of Memory 158
Time Out of Mind 161
A Generous Disorder 164
A Day of One's Own 170
IV. An Interview and Four Poems
The Sisters 175
A Conversation with Her Sister 177
Piazza di Spagna 208