At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Sunday, April 11, 2004


Hecht, Anthony. Melodies Unheard: Essays on the Mysteries of Poetry. Johns Hopkins, $24.95

Poetry: “If Hecht’s extraordinary power as a critic hinges on his ability to use such a wide lens, his success hinges on his careful and controlled focus. While this sort of expansive allusiveness could easily become tedious or even gratuitous, here it is always employed in the service of a specific and inventive argument…Hecht reads a poem so closely and incisively that we suddenly find pleasures of which we otherwise could never have conceived…There’s a certain gentility that’s hard to penetrate…Hecht’s insightful scholarship, intellectual curiosity, and delight at the limitless possibilities of language are truly inspiring.” Library Journal: “startling interpretations…fascinating…wonderful, instructive.” Virginia Quarterly Review: “rewarding and praiseworthy…each page of each essay overflows with lively and original insights. What each essay does not show—in fact, what no essay shows—is the kind of tightly organized, systematically reasoned argument that many people associate, rightly or wrongly, with professional literary criticism….surprising to many readers will be the discovery that this poet, teacher, and close reader is also a deeply earnest, deeply informed religious thinker…affords much unqualified delight and profound instruction…the book should have an index.” Choice: “a treasure trove of diverse observations…Hecht is adept at close readings, and for this reason, among others, his book will be a pleasure for anyone who takes good poetry seriously. Highly recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections.”


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