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

By Stephen Fredman

This Concise spouse supplies readers a wealthy experience of ways the poetry produced within the usa throughout the 20th century is hooked up to the country’s highbrow lifestyles extra greatly. is helping readers to completely delight in the poetry of the interval by means of tracing its ancient and cultural contexts. Written via well known experts within the box. areas the poetry of the interval inside contexts resembling: battle; feminism and the feminine poet; poetries of immigration and migration; communism and anti-communism; philosophy and thought. every one bankruptcy levels around the whole century, evaluating poets from one a part of the century to these of one other. New syntheses make the amount of curiosity to students in addition to scholars and normal readers.

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Especially in time of war, “poetry” seems to offer itself as a medium which by its very nature occupies some sort of higher moral ground, gesturing toward the cultural values presently threatened by the forces of barbarism. The idea of poetry as a means by which we see things more clearly, in an ethical light, is closely linked to the conception of poetic language as a medium capable of freeing us from the tautological confinement of war-speak. If poetry allows us to penetrate the dense “fog of war,” to borrow the title of Errol Morris’s very pertinent movie, it is arguably because it makes available a particular type of thinking which counters that of war – poetic thinking, we might say, recalling Heidegger’s distinction between “essential” and “calculative” 14 Wars I Have Seen modes.

For poetry, while increasingly a marginalized medium, is still popularly regarded as an appropriate, sometimes even a therapeutic, response to certain types of widely felt political outrage. And war has always seemed to occasion poetry as both its compensation and its negative reflection. Indeed, the respective languages of war and poetry have been bound together in interacting cycles of attraction and repulsion. On the one hand, the poetic idiom presents itself as more accurate, more authentic, more expressive of those human values so systematically trampled on in war; on the other hand, it is poetry which has so regularly been ransacked for the memorable tropes of political demagogy.

Levertov 1967: 230) Charles Olson was fond of quoting Heraclitus’s view that “Man is estranged from that with which he is most familiar” (Olson 1970: 25); Levertov’s lines are perhaps more self-reflexive, proposing that a culture of war has forced us to live in a language in which we cannot recognize ourselves.

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