A Concise Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry by Stephen Fredman

By Stephen Fredman

This Concise significant other offers readers a wealthy experience of ways the poetry produced within the usa in the course of the 20th century is hooked up to the country’s highbrow existence.

Written via widespread experts within the box, the amount is helping readers to understand the poetry by means of situating it inside of overlapping old and cultural contexts, together with: warfare; feminism and the feminine poet; ''queer cities''; the impact of the hot York artwork international; African-American poetry and blues; poetries of immigration and migration; communism and anti-communism; and philosophy and idea. each one bankruptcy levels around the complete century, evaluating poets from one a part of the century to these of one other; and every one balances documentary assurance of context with sharp observation upon particular poems.

The better half types an excellent creation to twentieth-century American poetry for college students, whereas its new syntheses will make it of curiosity to students to boot.

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History, for Howe as for Walter Benjamin, is the story told by the victors, and her explorations of American violence have been premised on, as she says, “A recognition that there is another voice, an attempt to hear and speak it” (Howe 1990b: 192). ” In recognizing this voice of the other, Howe seeks thus to derive an ethical language from the ruins of an authoritarian one. Lyn Hejinian’s aim in her recent work has been comparable, though where Howe has sought to keep her own poetic language at the threshold of meaning, shattering the historical record into a rubble of verbal bits and pieces, Hejinian seems to have moved in the opposite direction in works like the recent A Border Comedy, where the language is playful and apparently discursive, offering the poem as a kind of dialogic, social space.

But it is a ‘vision’ without image, bereft of the synoptic and totalizing objectifying virtues of vision, a relation or an intentionality of a wholly different type” (Levinas 1969: 23). Different poets have explored this possibility in different ways. Duncan, for example, was drawn to the “unwarlike” side of Pound as romantic visionary, stressing as his predecessor’s most important insight the view that “All ages are contemporaneous” (Duncan 1995: 99), and that “the contemporary opens upon eternity in the interpenetration of times” (p.

The mediatedness of war now gives a new twist to the theatrical metaphor, making it ever harder to “see” war in any meaningful sense – pondering the unreality of infant death in Vietnam, Denise Levertov writes in “Advent 1966” that because of this my strong sight, my clear caressive sight, my poet’s sight I was given that it might stir me into song, is blurred. (Levertov 1970: 4) For some poets, and Levertov is one, the task of poetry is to find, or perhaps in some sense to recover, a simple, undamaged language, the language, as she puts it in “Life at War,” of humans, men who can make; whose language imagines mercy, lovingkindness; we have believed one another mirrored forms of a God we felt as good – who do these acts, who convince ourselves it is necessary; these acts are done to our own flesh; burned human flesh is smelling in Viet Nam as I write.

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