The Patriot Poets: American Odes, Progress Poems, and the State of the Union. Montreal: McGill-Queen’ s University Press, 2018.
This book is wholly my own, the result of a curiosity spurred in or around the year 2000, and worked out in a subsequent graduate course. The identification of the historical progress poem is maybe its most significant contribution, identifying one of the formative elements of a problematic series of American quasi-epic long poems stretching from Joel Barlow through Whitman and Crane and beyond. I hope my wonky survey of literary history will also contribute to the diversification of American poetry and teaching beyond “lyricization,” as well as call attention to many important and neglected individual poems.
An Encyclopedia of Ezra Pound. Edited by Demetres Tryphonopoulos and Stephen Adams. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2005. Japanese translation, 2010.
The lead on this book was taken by Demetres, who made use of his valuable networking to engage major scholars in the field. I participated mainly in editing text, fact checking (to the best of my ability), working with a number of contributors, and writing entries myself where I felt capable. The lion’s share of the book belongs to Demetres, but I am proud to have my name on it.
Poetic Designs: An Introduction to Meters, Verse Forms, and Figures of Speech. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, 1997.
This book sums up a lifetime study of prosodic theory and practice. My aim is to preserve as much as possible the understanding and sensitivity to metrics and prosody developed among readers and writers of poetry before the advent of free verse, and to sketch an approach, or rather three complementary approaches to the prosody of free verse itself. The chapter on free verse is the most original component of the book. I began writing it in frustration with the widely disseminated book by Paul Fussell, Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (1965), which strikes me hostile to free verse, superficial, often dogmatic, and sometimes erroneous. My book is a teaching and reference text, mainly written up from lecture notes.
R. Murray Schafer. Canadian Composers Series. 240pp, illus. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983.
My first book was written at the request of Murray himself, after I had read over the final draft of his edition of Ezra Pound and Music, which incidentally was the title of my University of Toronto doctoral dissertation. Murray had generously given me access to a huge quantity of otherwise inaccessible Pound material, which made my dissertation possible. A few years later, he proposed the book to me, wanting an author grounded in both the musicological and extra-musical elements of his work. Having taken on the task, I was given a free hand to say what I liked, guided by an occasional cassette tape in the mail making corrections and often hilarious remarks about my drafts. Alas, the book covers only the first part of Murray’s career, barely touching his masterwork Patria. The most comprehensive scholarly treatment of Patria can be found in Kirk MacKenzie’s University of Cincinnati dissertation A Twentieth-Century Musical/Theatrical Cycle: R. Murray Schafer's Patria (1966).