Pastoral, Pragmatism, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry by A. Mikkelsen

By A. Mikkelsen

Pastoral, Pragmatism, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry argues that pastoral has remained an important mode in sleek American poetry, usually as a way of conversing approximately who the perfect self or poet might be and the way the poet matches into the bigger nationwide neighborhood. prompted by way of the paintings of William James and John Dewey, Ann Mikkelsen deftly argues that the “pragmatic pastoral” mode depicts a transitory, evolving, experimental kingdom of being instead of a static, ironic, or nostalgic worldview. by way of re-evaluating relationships among the poet and the folk, the poem and lifestyles event, this e-book demonstrates that those pastorals replicate the moral dilemmas of a society in flux.

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Extra resources for Pastoral, Pragmatism, and Twentieth-Century American Poetry (Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics)

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Indd 41 11/23/2010 9:12:43 PM 42 ● Pastoral, Pragmatism, American Poetry implicitly replacing their own voices, ironically “drowned” out by their own weary shuffling. Whether or not the result is a poetry in which “thoughts” of social equity or justice justify the “hope” of the city’s “denizens” is left unresolved, although the verse does suggest that the presence of the working poor is not blithely co-opted nor its rhythms appropriated without awareness of their economic situation. It is the poet’s own “feet,” however, that ultimately shape the regular meter of this poem and serve to stress his own aesthetic awakening even as he laments the workers’ fate.

By the time he decided against throwing himself into the murky waters, he found he didn’t have enough funds to make his way back home to Lawrence, Massachusetts. Assessing his situation, Frost embarked on a series of adventures that read, in retrospect, as if purloined from turn-of-the-century headlines and popular fiction about the menace of tramps, the unemployed and homeless men who haunted urban and rural America in the wake of the major depressions of the late nineteenth century. “Nearly out of money,” biographer Lawrence Thompson narrates, “Frost decided to try his luck at leaving Elizabeth City [N.

Poetry, necessarily metaphorical, proves an ideal genre in which to engineer such slippages, its linguistic felicities permitting juxtapositions of images and ideas that in turn provoke thought and emotion. Even so, vexing issues remain: how to get people in proximity to poetry, how to make poetry for and of them? Gently but insistently posing such questions, pragmatic pastorals gesture toward the utopian ideals of modern public sphere theory while acknowledging the limitations of public discourse, their voices echoing across fields both literal and figurative.

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