America’s most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition—and unearths. Break, Blow, Burn By Camille Paglia. pp. Pantheon Books. $ CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know. CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know very much about poetry, Camille Paglia’s new book anthologizes

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That’s the kind of question that can puzzle and mystify the general reader. One of her best attributes is well brought out: She has been variously called the “feminist that other feminists love to hate,” a “post-feminist feminist,” one of the world’s top intellectuals by the UK’s Prospect Magazineand by her own description “a feminist bisexual egomaniac. Far from the days when poetry was something the youth were invested in as the embodiment of a sort of freedom camolle their ideals, Paglia aims to reawaken artists and general readers to their inheritance.

The mercurial language of Shakespeare, on the other hand, still dazzles, baffles, and enchants.

What I do see are relatively obvious points, articulated with supreme confidence and her signature dash of provoca A disappointment. Not sure how to say it.

The media attention she attracts does little to modify her opinions. She makes really great pagglia and teases out meanings I never would have done. But Paglia insists she’s not showing a kinder, gentler side.

Break, Blow, Burn – Camille Paglia discusses poetry

Dec 18, Pages Buy. The Essential Essays, It’s why she has chosen Shakespeare and Joni Mitchell as the two bookends for “Break, Blow, Burn,” and it’s also why she continued reading poetry past the age when most Americans put it down. I don’t think some of Paglia’s modern selections can be justified as among “the world’s best poems. After pages of handy exegeses, it’s a shame that Paglia ends her book with what looks less like literary or cultural criticism than a bid for attention or an expression of Baby Boomer myopia.


She’s landing punches on every page of her analysis.

Please try again later. He leaves little to intuition, to the suggestive power of words. The poems, most of them no more than a page, are imbued with a richness that Paglia masterfully shines light on, fulfilling her goal to “illuminate” them. The aim of the collection, hardly surprising, was to have the stressed audience abandon their cell phones, lap tops, and exercise equipment and make time to smell the roses before they were gonetrampled under the heel of progress.

The poem’s refrain is her anger, alleged by third parties. It was enough to make one want to give up the game entirely and watch DVD reissues instead, but there is a blast of fresh air coming through the room, Camille Paglia’s BreakBlow, Burn, a collection of forty- three poems brought together for a close reading by the author.

Making us share her exasperation and despair, she gains substance and presence until by the end she looms like an avenging Fury, beating off all opponents and willing the poem into existence. What is she thinking? She suspects this early appreciation came from a certain Italian-American culture of good craftsmanship. I think they are, mostly.

She takes a few jabs at the midth-century school of New Criticism based on a close analysis of a poem’s language and form for its disdain of popular culture. The 60 Best Songs of Description America’s most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition–and unearths some previously obscure verses worthy of a place in our canon.

Some of the instances where she finds sexuality and violence just seem absolutely bizarre to me. These essays will inspire anyone to turn back to poetry again. Paglia has a wild personality and an amazing memory. If you had told me months ago that I would be reading a hot pink book about famous poems while on the subway to work I would’ve laughed.

Jan 24, Pages Buy. Includes a new epilogue that details the selection process for choosing the 43 poems presented in this book and provides commentary on some of the pieces that didn’t make the final cut.


Not all the essays are as clear or well-argued, though. She makes a fascinating and challenging reading companion. In an all-too-brief introduction, we are given glimpses of what Paglia sees as the function of poetry in our time: Walt Whitman, Song of Myself Jul 14, Leisha Wharfield rated it really liked it. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Paglia surmounts that problem by comparing the poems she’s chosen to one another, even when such comparisons may not be what the poets had in mind.

A poet battles — and breaks free. Paglia broke down william carlos williams; included Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy”, Emily Dickinson; and, of course, the dynamo that is John Donne. Pages of this site about Camilla Paglia, here and here.

Break, Blow, Burn by Camille Paglia | : Books

This book is a degree turn from Sexual Personae and it’s both brilliant and surprising for being just that. It’s the liveliest collection of critical remarks I’ve in years. No doubt Heche has been stuck with a few bad gigs, but Paglia, of all people, must be well aware that being an actress is not the same safe ride as being the tenured university professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. This makes her discussions intimate, vital, a whirlwind of excited speculation.

Paglia does a lot to bring it back, but she might have done even more. The book’s greatest offense is its presumptuousness.

Looking for More Great Reads? Their yammering stops with the door slam of the last word “dead” — the line recapitulating the more formal, teacherly title “aren’t” rather than “ain’t”. A gimmick has been established for Nurn and was performing handsomely—the books, pocket sized, were perfect for bookstore cash register stands as impulse purchases, and in the dozens.

Sonnet 73, Sonnet 29 and the Ghost’s speech from ”Hamlet,” each individually explicated. That’s a good thing.