These days few critical monographs compel me to read them cover to cover. In most cases I do not make it much past the introduction. Harris Feinsod’s first book is among the rare exceptions that I read and reread with genuine delight. Why? Because this book offers unexpected ways of thinking about poetic form in the work of writers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and the United States, and it does so in lucid, graceful prose. What I find most attractive is Feinsod’s focus on poetic forms as “expression[s] of geopolitical desire,” “vision[s] of an alternative world order,” and “manifestations of a network of writers and institutions” that stand behind them (2).

A multidirectional history of mid-twentieth-century poetry—more specifically, a “‘tropological history’ of inter-American relations” (24)—The Poetry of the Americas avoids the worn opposition...

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