Critical Inquiry Critical Inquiry

Books: Politics and Poetic Value

Edited by Robert von Hallberg

This collection of essays investigates the ways in which evaluative standards may be applied to political poetry. Drawing on teh works of such historically diverse poets as Pindar, Horace, Milton, Clare, and Cardenal, the contributors move beyond interpretation to suggest that various notions of value may be used to assess political poetry. Although political poetry does not require critics to establish a new set of standards, it does raise a number of problematic issues: What is the proper relationship between universality and contemporaneity, generality and particularity? With what authority does the poet speak politically? Is the decision to uphold or undermine poetic conventions politically significant?