On Frank Bidart: Fastening the Voice to the Page
Frank Bidart has always defied expectation and convention without ever sounding conscious of such an effort or veering into self-parody. Bidart’s poetry is often all at once deeply generous of spirit, terrifyingly beautiful, and verging on the ecstatic in its glimpse of great turbulence just beneath the surface. Rhythmically Bidart possesses an astute sense of the music of speech, both on the page and in the ear--proving again Frost’s assertion that "a dramatic necessity goes deep into the nature of the sentence.” In the process Bidart forges a unique and uniquely American voice that combines, writes Seamus Heaney in one of this book’s essays, "a Dantesque severity with an immediacy of voice and a contemporaneity of idiom that [is] as alive to the resources of the tape-deck as it [is] to the tradition of terza rima.”
This collection of essays from thirty-six poets and writers puts Bidart in perspective for his numerous longtime readers and is sure to draw new adherents to one of our greatest living poets.
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I hasten to add that Frank's verse is never far removed from traditional prosody , and that part of the literary richness of his writing has to do with his consciousness of formal traditions , just as he is consistently conscious of the ...
And yet arguably the stakes for establishing presence and vocal urgency are greater here than ever ; Bidart has never before “ retold ” a mythological tale at such length , never given so much attention to a tale so much an existing ...
The language here is public , startlingly so , and never lapses into something distractingly idiosyncratic , as solipsistic as his characters might be . In " California Plush , " " Golden State , " and " The Book of the Body ...
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Frank Bidarts Voice
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