Skeptical Music: Essays on Modern Poetry

"Skeptical Music" collects the essays on poetry that have made David Bromwich one of the most widely admired critics now writing. Both readers familiar with modern poetry and newcomers to poets like Marianne Moore and James Merrill will relish this collection for its elegance and power of discernment. Each essay stakes a particular claim for the modernist style and its intent to capture an audience beyond the present moment.

An essay on the complex relationship between Hart Crane and T. S. Eliot shows how the delicate shifts of tone and shading in their work register both affinity and resistance. A revealing look at W. H. Auden traces the process by which the voice of a generation changed from prophet to domestic ironist. And a close reading of Geoffrey Hill sheds new light on the "conscience of words" in writing. Whether discussing heroism in the poetry of Wallace Stevens, considering self-reflection in the poems of Elizabeth Bishop, exploring the battle between the self and its images in the work of John Ashbery, or even tracing the significance of valor to a prose stylist such as Ernest Hemingway, "Skeptical Music" will make readers think again about what poetry is, and even more important, why it still matters.

David Bromwich has contributed to Skeptical Music: Essays on Modern Poetry as an author. David Bromwich is the Housum Professor of English at Yale University. He is the author of" Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth's Poetry of the 1790s," published by the University of Chicago Press, and "A Choice of Inheritance: Self and Community from Edmund Burke to Robert Frost,"