The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience

Published By: Viking Adult

Book Category: Non-Fiction, Poetry

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Reviewed by Kathleen J. Pettit

For those new to Ann Lauterbach's poetry, I recommend reading The Night Sky, writings on the poetics of experience. Starting with the introduction, she asserts, "To write poetry in America is in itself a subversive act." Then reading through the essays on the personal, the poetic, the political—to the works of Emerson and the concept of common ground—she engages in an articulate and meaningful way the importance of poetry, pushing boundaries, and allowing no one to own the language.

No topic escaped her notice in the bi-monthly column she wrote for American Poetry Review during 1996–1999. Her essay on the black dress amuses but informs beyond what one expects. Other essays are almost technical but very readable in their discussion of the use of language, fragment, form, reality and poetry.

The insights she attains from people such as Sylvia Plath, Howard Hughes, Bob Dylan and later Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky and Emerson, world events such as Abu Grab and 9/11 and her own chaotic life experience, are interwoven with her views on poetry and aesthetics.

Armchair Interviews says The Night Sky is a fascinating read and makes one want to be a poet.

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