We are delighted when we recognize patterns and continuities, as we are delighted by a new poem's radical adjustment of, critique of, rejection of, or simple application of those patterns and modes. A poem means something because of previous poems.
--from the Introduction
Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry is a significant new book on poetry from its earliest, traditional roots to its most recent and fractured forms. The essays gathered here, by an array of brilliant contemporary poets, explore the history of the lyric poem, its rhetorical modes and strategies. How does the lyric operate in an elegy, a love poem, or an ode? How is meaning conveyed by a pastoral poem, the sublime, the narrative? How does the lyric investigate nature, beauty, and time? How are these lyric forms and strategies received? Radiant Lyre gives the contemporary reader a sense of the origin, evolution, and present status of the modes and means of lyric poetry.
David Baker and Ann Townsend have assembled an important anthology, vital to any serious reader of poetry. Contributors include Linda Gregerson, Richard Jackson, Eric Pankey, Carl Phillips, and Stanley Plumly.