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Hannah Sullivan lives in London with her husband and two sons and is an Associate Professor of English at New College, Oxford. She received her PhD from Harvard in 2008 and taught in California for four years. Her study of modernist writing, The Work of Revision, was published in 2013 and awarded the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize by the British Academy.
Hannah Sullivan's debut collection is a revelation - three long poems of fresh ambition, intensity and substance. Though each poem stands apart, their inventive and looping encounters make for a compelling unity. 'You, Very Young in New York' captures a great American city, in all its alluring detail. It is a wry and tender study of romantic possibility, disappointment, and the obduracy of innocence. 'Repeat until Time' begins with a move to California and unfolds into an essay on repetition and returning home, at once personal and philosophical. 'The Sandpit after Rain' explores the birth of a child and the loss of a father with exacting clarity. In Three Poems, readers will experience Sullivan's work with the same exhilaration as they might the great modernising poems of Eliot and Pound, but with the unique perspective of a brilliant new female voice.
Hannah Sullivan's debut collection is a revelation - three poems of startling intensity, ambition and length. Though each poem stands apart, their inventive and looping encounters make for a compelling unity. 'You, Very Young in New York' is a study of romantic possibility and disillusion in a great American city. 'Repeat Until Time' begins with a move to California and unfolds into a philosophical essay on repetition. 'The Sandpit After Rain' explores the birth of a child and the loss of a father with exacting clarity. Readers will experience her work with the same exhilaration as they might the great modernising poems of Eliot and Pound, but with the unique perspective of a brilliant new female voice.
Revision might seem to be an intrinsic part of good writing. But Hannah Sullivan argues that we inherit our faith in the virtues of redrafting from early-twentieth-century modernism. Closely examining changes made in manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and others, she shows how modernist approaches to rewriting shaped literary style, and how the impulse to touch up, alter, and correct can sometimes go too far. In the nineteenth century, revision was thought to mar a composition's originality-a prejudice cultivated especially by the Romantics, who believed writing should be spontaneous and organic, and that rewriting indicated a failure of inspiration. Rejecting such views, avant-garde writers of the twentieth century devoted themselves to laborious acts of rewriting, both before and after publishing their work. The great pains undertaken in revision became a badge of honor for writers anxious to justify the value and difficulty of their work. In turn, many of the distinctive effects of modernist style-ellipsis, fragmentation, parataxis-were produced by zealous, experimental acts of excision and addition. The early twentieth century also saw the advent of the typewriter. It proved the ideal tool for extensive, multi-stage revisions-superior even to the word processor in fostering self-scrutiny and rereading across multiple drafts. Tracing how master stylists from Henry James to Allen Ginsberg have approached their craft, The Work of Revision reveals how techniques developed in the service of avant-garde experiment have become compositional orthodoxy.