Lyric Essays: Authors and Essays Flashcards | Quizlet
Since 1997, Seneca Review has featured pieces of this hybrid form by renowned writers such as Anne Carson, Bernard Cooper, Fanny Howe, Wayne Koestenbaum, Honor Moore, Mary Oliver, David Shields, Joe Wenderoth, Terry Tempest Williams, and many others. HWS Professor of English David Weiss is editor of the Seneca Review.
FLOAT by Anne Carson | Kirkus Reviews
The loose criteria for the lyric essay seems to invoke a kind of nonfiction not burdened by research or fact, yet responsible (if necessary) to sense and poetry, shrewdly allegiant to no expectations of genre other than the demands of its own subject. If that sounds strangely like fiction, several of the writers included here, Harry Mathews, Carole Maso, and Lydia Davis among them, first published their pieces in that genre, and will no doubt continue to. Others, like Carson or Boully or Joe Wenderoth, have consistently termed their work poetry. Thalia Field has published her singular writing under the label of fiction, although it seems better read as poetry. Here, of course, it is an essay, as are works of autobiography. David Antin shows up with more of his astonishingly boring diaries, continuing his decades-long ruse of consequence. Thankfully he cannot single-handedly ruin an anthology. David Shields provides a Lishian catalog of clichés that accrue curious meanings and expose how revealing banal language can actually be. And stalwarts like Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, and Susan Sontag throw in with fierce, ambitious contributions that actually always were essays, although this lack of genre-hopping is in the minority.
The flagship practitioner of the lyric essay, who seems early on to have inspired D’Agata’s editorial imagination, is the Canadian poet Anne Carson. Under the banner of poetry, Carson has produced some of the most rigorously intelligent and beautiful writing of the last ten years: essays, stories, arguments, poems, most provocatively in her early collection, Plainwater. Her piece, “Short Talks,” which she describes as one-minute lectures, and which moves through the history of philosophy like a flip-book of civilization, offering stern commandments and graceful fall-aways, simultaneously qualifies as fiction, poetry, and essay, and is championed protectively by ambassadors from each genre.