Out of print
A Usable Past
Essays on Modern and Contemporary Poetry
Written by a highly praised poet and critic, A Usable Past contains a selection of sixteen essays published over the last ten years. Mariani has chosen those reflecting his most abiding interests and includes discussions of poets who have provided him with "a usable past." There are five essays on William Carlos Williams, including the acclaimed "Resembling the Dust" (nominated for a Pushcart Prize), the opening piece which Mariani calls the suppressed prolegomena to his biography of Williams, A New World Naked. There are four on Gerard Manely Hopkins which show the poet at work. And there are, finally, seven on writers and poets whom Mariani has carefully reassessed for what they have to teach us today--Robert Penn Warren, Charles Tomlinson, Robert Creeley, John Montague, John Berryman, Robert Pack, and Thomas Merton.
"I have read Paul Mariani's collection of essays with instruction and delight. About their value there is no question; some of them are outright jewels, some will become famous, and all are opportunities for readers to meet and profit from a unique mind working in unique directions and at unique depth."—Terrence Des Pres, Colgate University