Can Poetry Matter?

Can Poetry Matter?
Essays on Poetry and American Culture
Dana Gioia; New Introduction by the Author

“Undoubtedly one of the most important American books of poetry criticism of the last 50 years.”—Adam Kirsch, The New York Sun

“This book, destined to be a classic, doubtless will be rejected by many university-based poets. . . . His criticism of postmodern and contemporary poets is fair, objective and equally insightful...I read his text during a three-hour flight to Phoenix and glanced at the snow-capped Rockies for only a few seconds. It was the first time I had seen the Rockies too.”—Michael J. Bugeja, Columbus Dispatch

About the Book

"If you're an educated general reader, and you read only one book about contemporary poetry, this should be that book."—Booklist
In 1991, Dana Gioia's provocative essay "Can Poetry Matter?" was published in the Atlantic Monthly, and received more public response than any other piece in the magazine's history. In his book, Gioia more fully addressed the question: Is there a place for poetry to be part of modern American mainstream culture? Ten years later, the debate is as lively and heated as ever. Graywolf is pleased to re-issue this highly acclaimed collection in a handsome new edition, which includes a new Introduction by distinguished critic and poet, Dana Gioia.

Additional Reviews

 “Can Poetry Matter? is an important book, and anyone who professes to care about the state of American poetry will have to take it into account.”—World Literature Today

“Dana Gioia wants to blow poetry right out of the halls of university writing departments and into popular culture. He wants to restore the ‘vulgar vitality’ that made poetry so important in the 19th century. . . . He wants to ‘reconnect the P word with pleasure.’”—Mary Ann Grossman, Pioneer Press (St. Paul)