Quote of the Day
Devotedly, unostentatiously, Carcanet has evolved into a poetry publisher whose independence of mind and largeness of heart have made everyone who cares about literature feel increasingly admiring and grateful.
Subscribe to our mailing list
Poems and Essays on Poetry
Edited by C.H. Sisson
The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere -
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year;
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir -
It was down the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghost-haunted woodland of Weir.
The American poet Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) has suffered as many posthumous buffets and reversals in his reputation as he did in his life. Even before Baudelaire translated his stories and Mallarmé his poems, he was revered in France, while in Britain and even in America his work came to seem haunted, weird, its merits subsumed in the gothic drama of a life drunk (in every sense) to the lees, and early over. Many readers know his poems by heart but are wary of confessing an enthusiasm for lines so sonorous and unfashionable.
Among the voices urging the merits of Poe's poems and essays is that of C.H. Sisson. In this selection, which makes measured claims for an original and challenging writer, Sisson sides with Baudelaire, Gautier, Mallarmé and Valéry in singling out the unlikely and powerful qualities in Poe's language, qualities inherent in his subject-matter and realised in his verse. 'There is,' Sisson declares, 'a small handful of Poe's poems which are of a clarity and luminosity which make most of the poetry of the nineteenth century look muddy.' His poetry, 'enjoyable but not explicable', attempting 'the rhythmical creation of beauty', is a firm legacy to proponents of la poésie pure as to those for whom paraphrase and moral uplift are not the be-all and end-all of poetry.
Table of Contents
The Vallye of Unrest
Sonnet: To Zante
The City in the Sea
To One in Paradise
T F---s S. O---d
The Conqueror Worm
The Haunted Palace
Scenese from Politian
Poems Written in Youth
Sonnet to Science
To the River---
To Lake. To---
A Dream within a Dream
To my Mother
Essays on Poetry
The Poetic Principle
The Rationale of Verse
The Philosphy of Composition
Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review 'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
Robert Nye, the Scotsman
The Carcanet Blog Iain Crichton Smiths New Music: John Greening read more John Gallas: The Extasie read more Roped to Catullus: Isobel Williams read more New Poetries VIII: Vahni Capildeo on Padraig Regan read more Louise Glck: On Realism read more Padraig Regan: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2021 Carcanet Press Ltd