By Daniel Morris
A new survey of twentieth-century U.S. poetry that areas a unique emphasis on poets who've positioned lyric poetry in discussion with different kinds of inventive expression, together with glossy paintings, the unconventional, jazz, memoir, and letters.
Contesting readings of twentieth-century American poetry as airtight and narcissistic, Morris translates the lyric as a scene of guide and therefore as a public-oriented style. American poets from Robert Frost to Sherman Alexie convey aesthetics to endure on an alternate that asks readers to consider carefully concerning the moral calls for of examining texts as a mirrored image of the way we metaphorically "read" the realm round us and the folks, locations, and issues in it. His survey specializes in poems that foreground scenes of dialog, educating, and debate regarding a strong-willed lyric speaker and one other self, bent on resisting how the speaker imagines the world.
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Extra resources for Lyric Encounters: Essays on American Poetry From Lazarus and Frost to Ortiz Cofer and Alexie
Is the Harlem Y (like the B/Be of the title another pun suggesting questioning Y/Why) a stable place to write? By the late 1940s most readers of Hughes’s poetry considered him to be a long way from the author who wrote “Put one more ‘S’ in the USA,” but “Theme for English B” recovers his once dormant but now festering radicalism. The radical nature of “Theme” is especially evident if we understand the white instructor to be a synecdoche representing in condensed form a version of the many privileged white figures in the private and public spheres of the poet’s life.
Williams’s creative encounter with Demuth’s watercolor, I argue, evidences what Mitchell terms “resistance or counterdesire” to the poet’s libidinal investment in his queer colleague’s work. In his poem, Williams mediates ekphrastic fear through the language of formalism. Commenting on Demuth’s abstract design features, Williams seeks to restrain the vertiginous blurring of self and other, viewer and artist, that, ironically, he manifests through a reading 40 LYRIC ENCOUNTERS of the watercolor that exceeds an account of its formal contours.
Exploring Ginsberg’s conversation with Time also allows me to examine questions about the relation between literature and popular culture. ” By contrast, Time and Life, in their ripostes to his texts, attempt to reduce Ginsberg to the mono-conceptual frame. He is cast in Time as deviant in a contemporaneous book review concerning the Beats, and treated in Life as an ironically pro-American Cold Warrior via his advocacy for free speech and individualism. In the 1980s, when Ginsberg had signed a six-figure contract with Harper & Row, Time regards his commercial success as a sign that the “Culture Industry” had thoroughly absorbed one of its most notorious critics.