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Rhyme's Rooms by Brad Leithauser
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Rhyme's Rooms

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Rhyme's Rooms by Brad Leithauser
Feb 15, 2022 | ISBN 9780525655053

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“A warm, well-considered celebration of a rich literary form. . . [Leithauser] aims his thoughtful overview of prosody at general readers who may feel trepidation when encountering a poem . . . Unlike scholarly books that focus mostly on what a poem says, Leithauser is equally concerned with how a poem conveys meaning: the building blocks that make for its particular architecture.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Brad Leithauser brings élan and a lifetime of learning to his exploration of poetic form. Alert to the ways poetry is at once a traditional and a revolutionary art, Rhyme’s Rooms invites us to slow down and to observe the powerful interplay among a poem’s technical, musical, emotional, and intellectual elements. The book’s probing chapters on meter, stanza, and rhyme, its succinct and helpful glossary, as well as the scores of poems Leithauser analyzes with sophistication and verve, will open up new interrogations of poetry’s expressive force and will become indispensable to readers, writers, students and teachers.” —Richie Hofmann, author of A Hundred Lovers

“Erudite and funny, Rhyme’s Rooms by Brad Leithauser is a stroll through the art of building poems. It wisely reminds us that the shape of a poem depends as much on the body of the poet as it does on the spirit.” —Tomás Q. Morín, author of Machete

“If Hogwarts Academy recommended this book of practical magic for its Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum, that wouldn’t be the only excellent reason to buy it. Professor Leithauser knows as much about poetry as anyone alive, and he’s very good company—synoptic, insightful, funny. And the illustrative dollops and samples he brings to table (many of them new to me) might be another reason enough to get this book. It’s a dessert-cart to delight the literary and remind apostates whyever they thought they loved poetry in the first place.” —Richard Kenney, author of Terminator

“This is neither a writer’s manual, nor a reader’s handbook, but something much more enticing, an architectural tour of the art of poetry by a contemporary master. Leithauser’s witty and learned presence enlivens every page, but his aim is to help us experience for ourselves how the formal blueprints make for a thrilling environment, how the features of each room play between expectation and surprise. Leithauser’s outlandish hypotheticals acknowledge the strangeness of poetry while his everyday comparisons link it to human fundamentals. He helps us, most importantly, to slow down, listen and look, discover the patterns and tensions that make poems such rewarding spaces to wander in.” —Bonnie Costello, author of The Plural of Us

“An absolutely extraordinary piece of scholarship/criticism and poetic listening. I was again and again amazed at the range, the inventiveness, and the high poetic level of the prose.” —William Pritchard, Critic and Professor Emeritus at Amherst College

“Brad Leithauser’s every written sentence is infused with music. Part of my own page-by-page delight, roaming through Rhyme’s Rooms, was imagining how much my father would have relished Leithauser’s ardent plunge into the workings of poetry. Leonard Bernstein, who loved words as passionately as he did notes, would have instantly recognized a kindred spirit: another joyful laborer in the pastures of sonority and rhythmic muscle; a fellow reveler in the beauty of rigor, and the rigor of beauty.” —Jamie Bernstein, author of Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

“In Rhyme’s Rooms Brad Leithauser has written a wise, luminous guide to poetry from Geoffrey Chaucer through Marvin Gaye. A distinguished poet in his own right, Leithauser combines a scholar’s wisdom with the wonder of somebody discovering magic.” —Tim Page, Pulitzer Prize–winning music critic

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