On the Lyric Essay « Ben Marcus

Mary Kinzie, poet and critic, M.A. Johns Hopkins University, Writing Seminars (fiction), Ph.D. Johns Hopkins, English. Author of seven poetry collections, including Summers of Vietnam, Autumn Eros, and her latest collection of poems and lyrical essays California Sorrow (Knopf). Two volumes of critical essays, The Cure of Poetry in an Age of Prose (Chicago) and The Judge Is Fury (University of Michigan "Poets on Poetry" series), were followed by A Poet's Guide to Poetry (Chicago), a critical handbook on poetry and prosody (2013). Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, and the Folger Shakespeare Library's O. B., Hardison Poetry Award. She teaches poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.

--Deborah Tall, Editor and John D'Agata, Associate Editor for Lyric Essays

David Shields’ has become the ur-book for the modern-day lyric essay: a blur of quotations and insights into writing, technology, persona, our relationship with the other with brief sprinkles of narrative intertwined. When we choose to enter a piece of fiction or when we read a poem, we are asked to suspend belief in order to find ourselves entranced in the language as well as the narrative: we are certainly still in our chairs or couches reading, but we will allow ourselves to get caught up in what is being weaved.

Lyric essay | Genre Across Borders (GXB)

--Deborah Tall, Editor and John D'Agata, Associate Editor for Lyric Essays

The lyric essay does not expound. It may merely mention. As Helen Vendler says of the lyric poem, "It depends on gaps. . . . It is suggestive rather than exhaustive." It might move by association, leaping from one path of thought to another by way of imagery or connotation, advancing by juxtaposition or sidewinding poetic logic. Generally it is short, concise and punchy like a prose poem. But it may meander, making use of other genres when they serve its purpose: recombinant, it samples the techniques of fiction, drama, journalism, song, and film.