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Meaningful Differences, Meaningful Differences, 0817307001, 0-8173-0700-1, 978-0-8173-0700-4, 9780817307004,

Meaningful Differences
The Poetry and Prose of David Ignatow
Edited by Virginia R. Terris

1994. 288 pp.
Price:  $44.95 s

Although David Ignatow is now in his fifth decade of publishing poetry and prose works, no critical study of his work has yet appeared. Virginia Terris corrects this oversight with Meaningful Differences, a comprehensive critical study of this well-known American poet and writer.

Terris has assembled both scholarly articles and original essays by poets and literary scholars. The entire range of Ignatow’s work is covered in overviews by poets James Wright and Robert Bly and scholarly critics Ralph J. Mills, Jr., and Jerome Mazzaro. Essays addressing specific aspects of his work include his prose (David Ray), his religious roots (Gary Pacernick), his role as an American poet (Diane Wakoski), his short poems (Jerome Mazzaro), his work as parable (Michael Heller), his diction (Linda Wagner-Martin), and his use of symbol (Virginia R. Terris).
Valuable reviews of Ignatow’s seventeen individual volumes are provided by such eminent poets as William Carlos Williams, James Dickey, Denise Levertov, and Diane Wakoski. These reviews are drawn from a wide range of prestigious publications, such as Poetry, Hudson Review, American Poetry Review, and Parnassus, through the New York Times Book Review and the American Book Review, to such small magazines as the Beloit Poetry Journal and Chelsea.
A significant implication that emerges from this study is that David Ignatow is a major part of our time because of his vision of 20th-century life as metaphysical experience, because of his continuing and enriching the tradition of Whitman and Williams, because of his use of the short poem as vehicle of philosophical exploration in the mode of Emily Dickinson, and because of his unique voice that is once available yet profound. In the light of this study, critics will have to readjust their evaluations of his work, as well as his importance to, and place in, 20th-century American poetry.

Virginia R. Terris is Professor Emerita of English at Adelphi University.


Meaningful Differences provides the very first collection of critical writing about the work of David Ignatow, one of America’s most important and honored poets.” –Hank Lazer, The University of Alabama


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