MadHat Press

Inventions of a Barbarous Age by Robert Archambeau

What is the community for poetry? What is its fate, its future? Poet and critic Robert Archambeau begins Inventions of a Barbarous Age with these questions before ranging over the ridges and valleys of the contemporary poetry scene, pausing on the way to investigate mystic and Gnostic poetry, the norms of criticism, and the poetics of camp and the sublime. Taking in poets from W. H. Auden to Kenneth Goldsmith, and topics from poetic comedy to poetic tribalism, Archambeau is one of poetry’s great omnivores, and numbers among the leading poetry critics of his generation.

Robert Archambeau is fascinated by the place poets stake out for their art, the claims they make about the relationship of poetry and power; and he is (sometimes uncomfortably) shrewd in ferreting out the motivations for such claims. His essays have the advantage of the best occasional writing—immediacy, a sense of responsiveness, conversationality—but Archambeau is also a “big ideas” critic, spinning his momentary interpretations of texts into penetrating insights about the place of poetry in the world.
—Mark Scroggins

Archambeau writes prose that’s consistently welcoming, curious, and free of the anxiety that marks so much criticism.
—Jonathan Farmer, Slate Magazine

A notable poet/critic, Archambeau’s a perfect example of how one person can take on both roles.
—Barry Schwabsky, The Nation

Archambeau is one of our smartest poetic sociologists, and he tackles the biggest problems facing poetry in our time.
—Norman Finkelstein, Contemporary Literature

If you want to see someone having fun while thinking provocatively about contemporary poetry, try Archambeau. I always do.
—Stephen Burt

Archambeau has perfect pitch.
—Marjorie Perloff


  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Madhat, Inc. (September 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941196357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941196359
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.4 ounces
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