211. (Percy Shelley)

Shelley’s poetry has challenged some of the finest critics, and even Hazlitt, who stands opposed to Shelley’s most notable detractors, such as Eliot and Hazlitt, is chary in his praise. It’s thought now that the matter is behind us, but that is only because the matter of critical argument over taste isn’t much done, but taste remains a standing challenge to powers of articulation and … Continue reading 211. (Percy Shelley)

107. (Algernon Charles Swinburne)

Though Wilde mocked his pronouncements of sexual deviance,  Swinburne quarried queer desire for a reinvention of the metaphysical tradition. Even among Victorianists, Swinburne is not written on or read much nowadays, but looking back nearly one hundred years, to the critics who were weaned on the poet of Putney (Swinburne in his later years) and who weaned off him into the dazzle of Donne, may … Continue reading 107. (Algernon Charles Swinburne)

93. (Elizabeth Bishop)

She shares with Eugenio Montale a novel sense of what epiphany a poem can or should seek or record. She only knew the Italian’s work once her career was underway, but she remarks in two letters to Lowell, on his publication of Imitations, that she is especially curious to read the Montale translations. Perhaps she suspected a kindred spirit. The sense one finds in both poets—and the … Continue reading 93. (Elizabeth Bishop)

8. (Robert Browning)

Bagehot, a man in the know, confides to his readership: “One of his greatest admirers once owned to us that he seldom or never began a new poem without looking on in advance, and foreseeing with caution what length of intellectual advance he was about to commence.” Does any other major poet have a posse of admirers so willing, even eager, to exonerate admiration by … Continue reading 8. (Robert Browning)