The Poet's Freedom
A Notebook on Making
Why do we need new art? How free is the artist in making? And why is the artist, and particularly the poet, a figure of freedom in Western culture? The MacArthur Award–winning poet and critic Susan Stewart ponders these questions in The Poet’s Freedom. Through a series of evocative essays, she not only argues that freedom is necessary to making and is itself something made, but also shows how artists give rules to their practices and model a self-determination that might serve in other spheres of work.
“Scholarly yet maverick, patiently constructed yet risk-taking, her work constantly surprises.”
“Susan Stewart may be our best contemporary thinker on poetry. . . . She writes criticism with the grace of a poet, and poetry with a strong logos underlying its lyrical surface. Both are haunted by a feel for our unknowable, primordial being, and this is no doubt what gives her work its abyssal power.”
“Readers interested primarily in the philosophy of art will especially enjoy the first half of the book; those looking for more practical criticism will enjoy Stewart’s inspired readings of specific poems by Wallace Stevens, John Skelton, and Emily Dickinson.”