Book summary: Beyond the Lyric

2012 BY FIONA SAMPSON

Beyond the Lyric does just that. This is a book of enthusiasms: an intelligent and witty map of contemporary British poetry and a radical, accessible guide to living British poets, grouped for the first time according to the kind of poetry they write.

In a series of groundbreaking new classifications, beginning with the bread-and-butter diction of the Plain Dealers and ending on the capacious generosity of the Exploded Lyric, it examines the broad range of contemporary tendencies – from the baroque swagger of the Dandies to the restrained elegance of the Oxford Elegists; from the layered, haunting verse of Mythopoesis to the inventive explorations of the New Formalists. By probing the cultural context from which these groups emerge and shifting the critical focus back to the work itself, Sampson’s astute analysis illuminates and demystifies each of these terms and asks the big questions about what makes a poem.

The result is a celebration of poetry as a connected, responsive and above all communitarian form. Lively, engaging and inviting, this is the indispensible and authoritative guide for anyone who's ever wondered what's going on in British poetry today.

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