Words to Create a World

Daniel Hoffman
Reflections on poetry, from the birth of modernism to the present


Words to Create a World collects interviews, essays, and reviews by distinguished poet, critic, and literary historian Daniel Hoffman. The book begins with the text of his inaugural address as Consultant in Poetry for the Library of Congress, in which Hoffman examines the stylistic revolution that signaled the birth of modernism. The final essay, “Wings of a Phoenix?”, examines the possibilities for poetry in this postmodern era.
Between these are discussions of books by and about founding modernists (Pound, Moore, Sitwell, Frost, Graves, Auden) who do not “succumb to the imitative fallacy and gibber at the window because the house is on fire.” Hoffman’s historical imagination elucidates the work of many other contemporary American and British poets, including his own. Words to Create a World will appeal to the reader who enjoys poetry and who hopes for guidance over the sprawling terrain of verse in the twentieth century.

Praise / Awards

  • "Words to Create a World gives us access to the mind of a poet, both talented and erudite, who will not relinquish the demanding models and lessons of the past but who, at the same time, remains open to the authentic as it might reveal itself in new incarnations. His kind is rare these days, and his book is a consequential addition to the Michigan series."
    --Philadelphia Inquirer
  • " His book reflects the discriminating mind of a poet as fully engaged with his poetic ancestors as with his contemporaries, and throughout, he brings such breadth to bear on the state of his art."
    --Philadelphia Inquirer
  • "'. . . stands as one of the best books in this excellent series edited by Donald Hall--and one of the best collections on British and American poetry to appear in the last decade."
    --Sewanee Review

Product Details

  • 5.25 x 8.
  • 312pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06505-9

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  • $29.95 U.S.