By Stephen Fredman
This Concise better half offers readers a wealthy feel of the way the poetry produced within the usa in the course of the 20th century is attached to the country’s highbrow existence extra largely. is helping readers to totally delight in the poetry of the interval through tracing its historic and cultural contexts. Written by means of famous experts within the box. areas the poetry of the interval inside of contexts comparable to: struggle; feminism and the feminine poet; poetries of immigration and migration; communism and anti-communism; philosophy and conception. every one bankruptcy levels around the complete 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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As he remarks in the preface to The Years as Catches, “The War itself and the power of the State I dimly perceived were not only a power over me but also a power related to my own creative power but turnd [sic] to purposes of domination, exploitation and destruction” (quoted in Reid 1979: 169). For Duncan, this contest of powers is typically perceived in cosmic, almost Blakean terms, which designedly give less historical speciﬁcity to the ongoing war. Few poets would deploy Duncan’s inﬂated cosmic perspectives, but others would ﬁnd ways of writing about the war without confronting its historical detail directly.
4 Introduction In the ﬁrst chapter of our study, “Wars I Have Seen,” Peter Nicholls points out how instrumental wars have been in creating and constituting nationhood. During the twentieth century, the language of war became increasingly in the United States the language of the state – a purposefully confusing and self-justifying Orwellian rhetoric that poets have identiﬁed and analyzed and sought to counter with their own linguistic means. In response to World War I, poets such as Ezra Pound, E.
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. This is the “High Diction” of which Paul Fussell speaks in his seminal The Great War and Modern Memory (1975), and while there is little signiﬁcant twentieth-century American poetry in the heroic mode after the World War I writings of Alan Seeger and Joyce Kilmer, we do ﬁnd that American political rhetoric is increasingly dependent on the tropes of a phoney poetic sublime: Shock and Awe, the threat of “an attack/ that will unleash upon Iraq// levels of force that have never been/ imagined before, much less seen” (quoted in Geoff Brock’s poem “Poetry & the American Voice” in Hamill 2003: 42), the promise of “unbelievable” force in the lead-up to the attack on Fallujah, and so on.