James Longenbach is a poet and critic whose most recent collection of poems, Earthling is a meditation on the ways in which human beings inhabit their knowledge of impending mortality, ranging bemusement to panic. His most recent critical work, Lyric Knowledge: How Poems Get Made is an account of how English-language poems, ranging from the 8th to the 21st century, are constructed from the most basic elements of their medium (diction, syntax, rhythm, figuration, and so on). He has also written widely about modern and postmodern poetry, sometimes emphasizing the historicity of poetic language (Wallace Stevens: The Plain Sense of Things) but also exploring the ways in which poems resist their historical location (The Resistance to Poetry).
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