In Ghostly Figures: Memory and Belatedness in Postwar American Poetry, Ann Keniston reopens two topics that are central to thinking about poetry but that each present a number of potential snares for the scholar who aims to train a critical eye upon them: temporality and figuration. Both topics are seemingly ubiquitous; they are not only the subjects of myriad books and articles written over the past several decades, but they are also topics that have occupied poets incessantly. In a number of respects, these two issues are at the very heart of the poetic enterprise, and so taking them on is akin to taking on nearly everything that might matter about poetry. Many of the most important statements about and theories of poetry over the past several hundred years emerge out of a consideration of one or the other of these issues, whether Wordsworth’s...

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