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While Canadian poetic practices have steadily pluralised since the
early 1960s, the poetry review has remained stubbornly constant.
You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence
is a critical,
and at times hilarious survey of reviews of innovative Canadian
poetry in English since 1961. What is at stake in the reviewing of
poetry? What fantasies are inherent to the practice? How is poetry
itself produced in the reviewing of poetry? Why has the reviewing
of poetry remained largely invisible to self-reflexive critique? These
are some of the many questions You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence
dares to ask in its query to determine if poetry
reviewers can claim to have the authority they imagine they have
over their chosen subject. As a retort to the retrograde trend that is
poetry reviewing in Canada, You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence
is the first book to detail the production and structure
of an "aesthetic conscience" and demonstrate how this functions
as the dynamic administrative apparatus of any aesthetic ideology.
In short, this book opens for the first time a new and desperately
needed channel in Canadian criticism.
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Praise for You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence:
This lively, engagingly written, and theoretically sophisticated study takes
a provocatively pointed look at postmodern Canadian poetry through the
revealing lenses of its reviews: their ideological and moral blindspots, their
lamented critical belatedness, and the "ongoing positions war" of their
canonization practices. Mancini's theorizing of the "aesthetic conscience"
and his astute analysis of the discourse of the "craft" of poetry are major
additions to the critical work on reviewing. This is a "must" for anyone
interested in Canadian poetry - and reviewing.
– Linda Hutcheon, author of The Canadian Postmodern; A Poetics of
Postmoderism: History, Theory, Fiction; The Politics of Postmodernism.
In You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence, Donato Mancini exposes and delimits the ideology behind a practice of poetry reviewing that functions more like diamond appraisal than intellectual engagement. If you read or write poetry whose clarity, carat, colour or cut is deemed flawed in such a critical political economy, you will find in Mancini’s work a challenge to aesthetic exclusivity that is incisive, expansive and potentially liberatory.
– Wayde Compton
The interdisciplinary practice of Donato Mancini focuses mainly
on bookworks, poetry, and text-based visual art. He is the author
of four books of procedural and visual writings: Ligatures
(2007), Buffet World
(2011), and Fact 'N' Value
His collaborative visual works have been exhibited in Canada, the
United States, Scandinavia and Cuba.
October 2012 | Essays
6x9 inches | 248 pages
Trade Paper: 9781927040423