Poetry of Contemporary American Poet Jonathan Holden

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This is the first book to appear on the poetic career of Jonathan Holden, the recipient of numerous prizes, including two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, the Devins Award, the AWP Award Series for Poetry, two Hugh Lake Awards, the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry, the Juniper Prize, and others. This study contains close readings of his eight volumes of poetry.


“Carl Buchanan’s incisive look at the poetry of Jonathan Holden shows us, yet again, the value of reading a poet’s work in tot. His chronological examination highlights and clarifies Holden’s thematic concerns, tracing their origins and their trajectory over thirty years of writing and through eight major books of poetry….Buchanan sees Holden’s work in the larger context of the entire poetic tradition in English, often highlighting the ways in which poems dovetail with the thematic or aesthetic concerns of such poets as Eliot, Keats, and Wordsworth. His place in American poetry is examine din the light of Williams, Stevens, and especially Frost…In fact, Buchanan’s comments on Frost are as insightful as his observations of Holden….Buchanan’s study has taken us through the steps from conjecture to theorem to axiom to proof – a rigorous reading of Holden’s work that follows it from impetus to consequence. He establishes Holden as a pivotal figure in contemporary letters, giving us a moral commentary on, as well as a reflection of, our times.” – Judith Kitchen, Writer-in-Residence, SUNY Brockport

“…Buchanan attends pretty faithfully to his way of going about guiding us through the rich fare of a Holden poem and its interconnection with others of his poems and with his life so far as it helps us understand the poetry….What the author does best is help us see (as promised) the intricate connections among Holden’s ideas, his ‘things,’ like the curve ball that arcs through the poet’s life and poems gathering momentum and direction as it spins ahead….This study ought to be in any library with a section on serious contemporary American poetry.” – Leonard Nathan

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