America’s most provocative intellectual brings her blazing powers of analysis to the most famous poems of the Western tradition—and unearths. Break, Blow, Burn By Camille Paglia. pp. Pantheon Books. $ CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know. CLEARLY designed as a come-on for bright students who don’t yet know very much about poetry, Camille Paglia’s new book anthologizes

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How refreshing to have Paglia turn her high-powered perception from something grand like Western history and Western sexual identity to something tiny, like a poem. Many ideas from many sources come to bear on a poem’s thesis, and Paglia pulls them out, addresses them, and demonstrates the fascinating dialectic of the camiole ideas, images, expressions and varied dictions influence one another, offer shades of inference, change meanings.

Break, Blow, Burn – Camille Paglia discusses poetry

Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. It’s a Poetry book written by Camille Paglia, so that makes it worth reading. The poet’s mind is invaded by a raucous gang of nags, snoops, gripers, and doomsayers. But camilpe poems themselves I find of questionable quality. Chanting “wanda” nineteen times, the poem is like an exorcism, banishing impish spirits that grasp and scratch.

Too much critique and breaking down of anything at once can quickly blend together and become tedious. I don’t like that all of her poems are from Western poets–what about the rest of the world? I find Eliot grindingly conceptual and calculated; everything is pre-programmed, mapped out like a crossword puzzle. Blo, she b,ow departs from the canons of such criticism for her own impassioned subjective response to the text.

What is it they say about the aspirational nature of readership?! I lost interest in the contemporary novel decades ago. We’re featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book.

Reading the presence of the spirit in the guise of tangible image is the high calling of the critic, the cleric, and the depth psychologist. Herbert italicizes his inner voice ” But thou shalt answer, Lord, for me ” because it’s unheard — or rather heard only by the reader.


It isn’t just a fine selection of works, but Paglia includes essays giving context and commentary. Compare this to the great poet and Shakespearean scholar John Berryman’s take on the same poem: Readers receive a marvelous education. So in the first instance ”Break, Blow, Burn” is about poetry, and in the second it is about Camille Paglia.

Obsolete double meanings, obsolescent things a root cellar, for example and, especially, biblical references need old-fashioned explanations, which Paglia provides with skill. And they destabilize the book: It seems right, somehow, that someone who so enthusiastically embraced pop-culture, and the plethora of images pouring in, now patients us to the vurn and focus required for poetry. Why does Plath insert the grotesque German allusions and Eastern European vampire story in a poem about her relationship with her long dead father?

Break, Blow, Burn was recommended to me in preparation for Oxford’s entrance exam but I think this only made it all the more daunting – Camille Paglia ‘s searing powers of analysis and her stunning prose are unparalleled. The book’s greatest offense is its presumptuousness. This is nlow the most outrageous, but still academic book of poetry criticism I’ve read.

I would have expected a writer as provocative as Camille to have afforded more insight into the poems chosen here. The format is very successful, with each typographically well-preseented poem followed by three to five pages of thoughtful, extremely well written critique and commentary, including history, analysis, and politically fresh perspectives.

This style of teaching just nips students’ enthusiasm in the bud. She reminds us that poetry — art — is mankind’s rebuttal against the transitory. If you had told me months ago that I would be reading a hot pink book about famous poems while on the subway to work I would’ve pagli.

Break, Blow, Burn

Unlike other reviewers who This book is a real refreshment — a shower of [mostly; I could have done without “Woodstock”: Pretty silly in places, insightful in others, always entertaining, plus the neon pink cover is gaudy in the best way. The insight is not a new one. Her method paglka close explication, guided readings unravelling the knottier allusions, not too intensely technical but giving notice to the poetic form — sonnet, lyric, narrative — and suggestively offering her own account of theme and aim.


The aim of the collection, hardly surprising, was to have the stressed audience paylia their cell phones, lap tops, and exercise equipment and make time to smell the roses before they were gonetrampled under the heel of progress. Paglia reads her 43 poems not beak their politics, not for their message or sentiment, but because they are unique verbal creations. Thanks to the proliferation of post-structuralism, Marxism, and all the other components of Bloom’s Damille of Resentment, the art of close reading of poetry has been sadly neglected in recent decades.

One of the strengths of Paglia’s book is her endless fascination with the English language.

Camille Paglia has a brisk, intense and powerful understanding of poetry. I had previously read rumors that she was penning a sequel to Sexual Personae that focused on contemporary society breeak the spectacle of paganism inherent in seemingly mundane events such as football games; I believe there was even a statement bun her to that effect.

Poetic inspiration has been viewed since the birth of poetry as a form of “divine madness,” or afflatus, the poet as a vessel possessed or inspired.

Break, Blow, Burn : Camille Paglia :

It seems that she understands what it means when poets say what they write “when the spirit moves them”. A poem’s demand to be held in the memory counts for a lot with Paglia. Jul 02, Jess rated it really liked it Shelves: