Anthony Hecht American Literature Analysis
The bulk of Anthony Hecht’s oeuvre is an album of the agony of visions revisited. His parodies aside, much of Hecht’s poetry speaks to matters he found most important: seeing and seeing accurately, remembering, and reconciling by way of relentless effort and painstaking technique. He once said that seeing accurately is almost the most important act that a human being can perform in life. This act is one he perfected as a formalist, or New Critical poet, one that maintained the ethos of an era, and one that Hecht made memorable both by virtue of form and by content.
As did Ezra Pound, Hecht saw poetry as the insignia of civilization, and he took responsibility as a poet whose task it was not only to write about himself or further his practice of poetic expression, but also to apply prosodic skill to life by putting it into context without evading the terrible. A seemingly impossible task, Hecht accomplished it by taking an almost impossible approach, by writing in a poetic form that many say is almost impossible to write: the sestina.
Hecht approached this daunting, demanding task with the belief that it is possible to have some sort of reconciliation—to present that which is disagreeable by putting it into the context of beauty and truth, the way, he once noted, that John Keats found William Shakespeare was able to do. The sestina provided the form for Hecht to combine, contrast, and reconcile several ideas at once. Ideas that bombard...
(The entire section is 1602 words.)
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