Allen Grossman's revered position as both poet and professor of poetry gives him unusual importance in the landscape of contemporary American poetry. In this new collection, Grossman revisits the "Long Schoolroom" of poetic principle - where he eventually learned to reconsider the notion that poetry was cultural work of the kind that contributed unambiguously to the peace of the world. According to Grossman, violence arises not merely from the "barbarian" outside of the culture the poet serves, but from the inner logic of that culture; not, as he would say now, from the defeat of cultural membership but from the terms of cultural membership itself. Grossman analyzes the "bitter logic of the poetic principle" as it is articulated in exemplary texts and figures, ranging from Bede's Caedmon and Milton to Whitman and Hart Crane. Other essays probe the example of postmodern Jewish and Christian poetry in this country, most notably the work of Robert Lowell and Allen Ginsberg, as it searches for an understanding of "holiness" in the production and control of violence.