Get American Political Poetry into the 21st Century (American PDF

By Michael Dowdy

ISBN-10: 0230604307

ISBN-13: 9780230604308

ISBN-10: 1403976449

ISBN-13: 9781403976444

Dowdy uncovers and analyzes the first rhetorical techniques, really figures of voice, in American political poetry from the Vietnam conflict period to the current.

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Extra resources for American Political Poetry into the 21st Century (American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century)

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This kind of poetry separates the speaker in some capacity from the limitations of personal experience and the conventions that implicitly govern poems of memory, witness, and interiority. Jane Frazier’s essay on Merwin’s “disembodied narrators” points to how the poems in this chapter “lack a particular self so that they may make their quests without the burdens of the ego”; as such, the speakers’ actions “remain part of a journey or process” rather than discrete end points (341). In much the same way, many of the speakers in the poems of this chapter are “disembodied narrators” who often move through their lines like ghosts.

Gibbons notes that Ezra Pound and Ernesto Cardenal were diametrically opposed politically, the latter leftist utilizing the poetic innovations of the fascist, but they shared both technique and the “assumptions that the structure of a society and of institutions, if changed, could improve the spiritual and material conditions of man, and that poetry may participate in the attempt to change what exists” (280). So, while it is unwise to align form with politics, it seems important to understand how both Pound and Cardenal understood poetry’s potential energies and its meliorist functions.

Many free verse poems in fact have a pattern— of beats per line, of line lengths—discernible in a full reading. Studies of political poetry should delve further than an alignment of certain forms with certain sociopolitical commitments. Gibbons notes that Ezra Pound and Ernesto Cardenal were diametrically opposed politically, the latter leftist utilizing the poetic innovations of the fascist, but they shared both technique and the “assumptions that the structure of a society and of institutions, if changed, could improve the spiritual and material conditions of man, and that poetry may participate in the attempt to change what exists” (280).

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American Political Poetry into the 21st Century (American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century) by Michael Dowdy


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