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Interview with a Ghost

Tom Sleigh

In Interview with a Ghost, celebrated poet Tom Sleigh investigates poetry from his conviction that "while art and life are separable, they aren't separate." With passion and erudition, these essays explore issues of selfhood that are often assumed but not adequately confronted by contemporary poetry—namely, what it means to employ the first person in a poem, the elusive "I" with all of its freighted aesthetic and psychological implications. The works of poets including Anne Bradstreet, Sir Walter Raleigh, Robert Lowell, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, and Frank Bidart are examined, as are Sleigh's own poems and translations in the contexts of his own history and sickness. Sleigh has constructed a book textured by an intriguing array of multiple forms. One essay imagines the poet preparing and delivering a lecture on his life and art, followed by an imagined reception full of jokes and asides; another essay veers into a contemporary myth involving Odysseus's son Telemachus; another becomes a wild extended parable about the avant-garde; the title piece, in the form of an interview, interrogates the poetic soul, after the body has passed on. In a style that suits the subject of the multiplicity of the self, Interview with a Ghost defines a new idiom for critical discourse.

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The first book of critical prose by a poet whose writing "refuses to cut emotional corners and yet achieves a sense of lyric absolution"—Seamus Heaney

About the Author

Tom  Sleigh
Credit: Annette Hornischer
Tom Sleigh is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently House of Fact, House of Ruin; Station Zed; Army Cats; and Space Walk, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is also the author of two essay collections, The Land between Two Rivers: Writing in an Age of Refugees and Interview with a Ghost. Sleigh teaches at Hunter College and lives in New York.
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  • "A contemplative tour of thought."—Midwest Book Review


This book is made possible, in part, through the Jerome Foundation, which supports new works by emerging artists in New York City and Minnesota, and by the generosity of Graywolf Press donors like you.
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