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To an Unknown Poet Essay | Critical Essay #1

Carolyn Kizer
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Critical Essay #1

Semansky is an instructor of literature whose writing appears regularly in literary journals. In this essay, Semansky considers Kizer's representation of literary culture and academia.

Kizer's poem, "To an Unknown Poet," is an indictment of a literary culture that is structured like the star system of Hollywood. Tens of thousands of people audition, but there is room for only a handful of stars. Those poets who do make it are invariably associated with a university or college, most often teaching in creative writing programs. Kizer herself has been a poet-in-residence at a number of prestigious schools including Princeton, Columbia, and Stanford. Indeed, the university, more than any other institution, provides the impetus for poets to produce and to publish poems. Although literary journals and magazines rarely pay for poetry, it is a form of academic capital. For poets and writers in academia, publications win them tenure and promotions...

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This section contains 1,345 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our To an Unknown Poet Study Guide
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To an Unknown Poet from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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