Claims for Poetry

Donald Hall, Editor
A collection of essays by contemporary American poets on the subject of their art


Claims for Poetry collects ideas of contemporary American poets on the subject of their art. Most contributions are essays, some are verse; some contributions are light-hearted, most are serious. These forty-three poets make widely different claims for widely different sorts of poetry—an eclectic, lively, contentious babble of voices from American poetry today.

Included are the voices of:

  • Robert Bly
  • Robert Creeley
  • Tess Gallagher
  • X. J. Kennedy
  • Galway Kinnell
  • Denise Levertov
  • Audre Lorde
  • Alicia Ostriker
  • Adrienne Rich
  • Ron Silliman
  • Louis Simpson
  • Gary Snyder
  • Alice Walker
  • Richard Wilbur
“I earnestly recommend [it] to everyone who is serious about poetry today… The Editor, Donald Hall, one of the most sensitive chroniclers and curators of modern poetry, has gathered statements on poetry and poetics from a wide range of our most highly regarded living poets.”
– Judson Jerome, Writer’s Digest

Look Inside


A. R. Ammons
A Poem Is a Walk - 1

Marvin Bell
The Impure Every Time - 9

Wendell Berry
Damage - 13

Robert Bly
A Wrong Turning in American Poetry - 17
What the Image Can Do - 38

Hayden Carruth
The Question of Poetic Form - 50

Robert Creeley
On the Road: Notes on Artists and Poets, 1950-65 - 62
To Define - 72
A Note - 73
A Note on the Local - 74
"Statement" for Paterson Society - 75
Poems Are a Complex - 76

Robert Duncan
Ideas of the Meaning of Form - 78

Russell Edson
Portrait of the Writer as a Fat Man: Some Subjective Ideas of Notions on the Care and Feeding of Prose Poems - 95

Tess Gallagher
The Poem as Time Machine - 104

Sandra M. Gilbert
"My Name Is Darkness": The Poetry of Self-Definition - 117

John Haines
The Hole in the Bucket - 131

Donal Hall
Goatfoot, Milktongue, Twinbird: The Psychic Origins of Poetic Form - 141

Robert Hass
One Body: Some Notes on Form - 151

Dick Higgins
Seen, Heard, and Understood - 165
Towards an Allusive Referential - 170

John Hollander
Uncommonplaces - 178

Richard Hugo
Assumptions - 186

David Ignatow
The Biggest Bomb: An Impressionistic Essay - 192

Donald Justice
Meters and Memory - 196

X. J. Kennedy
Fenced-In Fields - 203

Bliem Kern
Sound Poetry - 213

Galway Kinnell
Poetry, Personality, and Death - 219

Richard Kostelanetz
"Avant-Garde" - 238

Denise Levertov
An Admonition - 250
Origins of a Poem - 254
On the Function of the Line - 265

John Logan
On Poets and Poetry Today - 273

Audre Lorde
Poems Are Not Luxuries - 282

Thomas McGrath
Language, Power, and Dream - 286

Jackson Mac Low
Poetry, Chance, Silence, Etc. - 296

W. S. Merwin
On Open Form - 303

Frank O'Hara
Personism: A Manifesto - 306

Alicia Ostriker
The Nerves of a Midwife: Contemporary American Women's Poetry - 309

Ron Padgett
Three Poems - 328

Robert Pinsky
Poetry and the World - 331

Adrienne Rich
When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision - 345

Michael Ryan
On the Nature of Poetry - 362

Ron Silliman
The New Sentence - 377

Charles Simic
Negative Capability and Its Children - 399

Louis Simpson
Reflections on Narrative Poetry - 407

W. D. Snodgrass
Tact and the Poet's Force - 417

Gary Snyder
Poetry and the Primitive: Notes on Poetry as an Ecological Survival Technique - 434
The Yogin and the Philosopher - 446

William Stafford
A Way of Writing - 450

Mark Strand
Notes on the Craft of Poetry - 453

Alice Walker
In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens - 459

Richard Wilbur
Poetry and Happiness - 469

Notes on Contributors - 491

Product Details

  • 5.5 x 8.5.
  • 520pp.
Available for sale worldwide

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  • Paper
  • 1983
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06308-6

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  • $27.95 U.S.