For Us, What Music?

For Us, What Music?

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When Donald Justice wrote in a€œOn a Picture by Burchfielda€ that a€œart keeps long hours, a€ he might have been describing his own life. Although he early on struggled to find a balance between his life and art, the latter became a way of experiencing his life more deeply. He found meaning in human experience by applying traditional religious language to his artistic vocation. Central to his work was the translation of the language of devotion to a learned American vernacular. Art not only provided him with a wealth of intrinsically worthwhile experiences but also granted rich and nuanced ways of experiencing, understanding, and being in the world. For Donald Justicea€”recipient of some of poetrya€™s highest laurels, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the Lannan Literary Award for Poetrya€”art was a way of life. Because Jerry Harp was Justicea€™s student, his personal knowledge of his subjecta€”combined with his deep understanding of Justicea€™s oeuvrea€”works to remarkable advantage in For Us, What Music? Harp reads with keen intelligence, placing each poem within the precise historical moment it was written and locating it in the context of the literary tradition within which Justice worked. Throughout the text runs the narrative of Justicea€™s life, tying together the poems and informing Harpa€™s interpretation of them. For Us, What Music? grants readers a remarkable understanding of one of Americaa€™s greatest poets.(A tame rebellion, but a lovely line.)a€ (232). ... Adding enough praise to keep his criticism from being harsh, he guided us through poems with a skill that was as painstaking as it was gracefula€ (ibid., 134). ... In adulthood, he loved games of all sorts, from poker to ping-pong, volleyball and softball, all of which he played with passion. ... Without under- 5 8 standing why, he did not find life on missing selves .

Title:For Us, What Music?
Author: Jerry Harp
Publisher:University of Iowa Press - 2010-12-28

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