by Clare Cavanagh
Choice Extraordinarily rich and sophisticated in its comparative grasp of poetry, this volume may establish a new standard in literary criticism. Cavanagh (Slavic languages and literature, Northwestern Univ.) implicitly affirms both the general view that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the universe and also Roman Jakobson's dictum that "poetry is language in its aesthetic function." With the objective of providing an "overview of twentieth-century Eastern-European poetry in its Russian and Polish incarnations," Cavanagh offers a "comparative study of modern poetry on both the Eastern and Western side of the great political divide that came to be known mid-century as the 'Iron Curtain.'" Her subjects include a broad range of eminent literary figures: Alekandr Blok, William Butler Yeats, Walt Whitman, Vladimir Mayakovsky, the Russian Acmeists (Anna Akhmatova, Nikolai Gumilev, Osip Mandelstam), Wisawa Szymborska, Adam Zagajewski, and Czesaw Miosz, among many others. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. V. D. Barooshian emeritus, Wells College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.