Poetry as Enchantment, by Dana Gioia
No contemporary critic has done more to bridge the gap between amateur readers and academics than Dana Gioia. In “Poetry as Enchantment” he reminds us that poetry lives in numerous ways—not only in classroom study, but also in ages of popular culture. Its unparaphrasable being distinguishes the art, and enchantment is a key feature of that alluring essence. Gioia does not dismiss our skepticism about such things, but charmingly points out its limitations. Clear-sighted and entertaining, this is an important essay, a gift to anyone who cares about the art.
Dana Gioia, perhaps the most important advocate for poetry today, reminds us that the primary role of poetry is to delight, to enchant, even to cast a spell over the reader. In these elegantly reasoned, thoroughly researched pages, he argues that we must restore pleasure and music to poetry at a time when academic analysis has all but abolished their consideration. The subject is far from exhausted in this important essay—he strikes the first note of a discussion that will sound long after the reader has closed this book.