Green Thoughts, Green Shades: Essays by Contemporary Poets on the Early Modern Lyric

By Jonathan F. S. Post | Go to book overview

EIGHT
Finding Anne Bradstreet
EAVAN BOLAND

1

THIS IS A PIECE ABOUT ANNE BRADSTREET. But there is another subject here as well. Its nature? For want of an exact definition, it is subject matter itself: that bridge of whispers and sighs over which one poet has to travel to reach another, out of which is formed the text and context of a predecessor. That journey into the past—not just Anne Bradstreet's but my own—is the substance of this essay.

I have always been fascinated by the way poets of one time construct the poets of a previous one. It can be an invisible act, arranged so that none of the awkwardly placed struts are visible. But the discussion of invisibility is not my intention. I am interested in the actual process of reconstruction, in the clear and unclear motives with which a poet from the present goes to find one from the past. I am interested, therefore, in the actions and choices that have the power to turn a canon into something less authoritarian and more enduring: from a set text into a living tradition. The sometimes elusive, yet utterly crucial, difference between a canon and a tradition is also part of this piece. So in that sense I want the plaster work to show and the background noise to be heard.

All of this seems worth saying at the beginning because I found Anne Bradstreet first in a revealing context. Not in her own words: not in the quick, fluent, and eventually radical cadences that mark her style. My

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Green Thoughts, Green Shades: Essays by Contemporary Poets on the Early Modern Lyric
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Green Thoughts, Green Shades *
  • Introduction - Green Thoughts, Green Shades 3
  • Notes *
  • One - Wyatt and Some Early Features of the Tradition 17
  • Notes *
  • Two - Sidney and the Sestina 41
  • Notes *
  • Three - A Curve from Wyatt to Rochester 59
  • Notes *
  • Bibliography 85
  • Four - Ben Jonson and the Loathèd Word 86
  • Notes *
  • Five - Donne's Sovereignty 109
  • Notes *
  • Six - On the Poetry of George Herbert 136
  • Notes *
  • Seven - The Invention of Personality 160
  • Notes *
  • Eight - Finding Anne Bradstreet 176
  • Notes *
  • Nine - Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle 191
  • Notes *
  • Ten - Marvelry 220
  • Notes *
  • Eleven - Rochester's Poetry 242
  • Note *
  • Bibliography *
  • Twelve - What Was He Up To? 257
  • Notes *
  • Contributors 289
  • Index 293
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