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By John Lowney

During this nuanced revisionist background of contemporary American poetry, John Lowney investigates the melancholy era’s impression on past due modernist American poetry from the socioeconomic situation of the Nineteen Thirties during the emergence of the hot social pursuits of the Nineteen Sixties. proficient via an ongoing scholarly reconsideration of Thirties American tradition and targeting Left writers whose old awareness used to be profoundly formed by way of the melancholy, international warfare II, and the chilly warfare, Lowney articulates the Left’s demanding situations to nationwide collective reminiscence and redefines the significance of overdue modernism in American literary background.  The overdue modernist writers Lowney stories such a lot closely---Muriel Rukeyser, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Thomas McGrath, and George Oppen---are no longer all quite often linked to the Nineteen Thirties, nor are they in general obvious as literary friends. by means of analyzing those past due modernist writers relatively, Lowney foregrounds variations of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, and social classification and sector whereas emphasizing how every one author constructed poetic varieties that answered to the cultural politics and socioaesthetic debates of the Thirties. In so doing he calls into query the bounds that experience restricted the scholarly discussion approximately sleek poetry.  No different examine of yank poetry has thought of the actual collecting of careers that Lowney considers. As poets whose collective old attention used to be profoundly formed by means of the turmoil of the melancholy and struggle years and the chilly War’s repression or rewriting of historical past, their different abilities signify a different generational impression on U.S. and foreign literary background.

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Additional info for History, Memory, and the Literary Left: Modern American Poetry, 1935-1968 (Contemp North American Poetry)

Example text

Citing the example of the International Union of Revolutionary Writers in Europe, Hart appealed to the international revolutionary imperative of uniting with “the forces of progress against the prevailing dangers of war, fascism, and the extinction of culture” (Introduction –). As Hart’s account of the congress’s proceedings underscored, the need for American writers to ally themselves with the working class was closely related to the increasingly pressing need to fight against fascism, in the United States as well as abroad.

If Stevens’s poem translates the refuse of the dump into an affirmation of poetic imagination, an affirmation as well of the analogous power of organic processes to transform the site of ruin, it does so ironically. Its fragmentary allusions to romantic tropes are themselves scattered among the poem’s debris, as worn in their associations as they are visibly out of place, typographically conspicuous, on the dump. Unlike The Waste Land, in which fragments of cultural memory offer potential patterns of coherence to compensate for the chaotic ruins of urban modernity, Stevens asserts the incompleteness of the romantic fragment, inscribed within the ruins topos of the dump.

The decline of poetry corresponded with the rise of capitalism, “which aggrandizes the individual” and is thus hostile to the “social art” of poetry (Schneider ). The forms of poetry that had survived in the marketplace were either limited in their social scope (individualistic forms such as the lyric, for example) or, conversely, so difficult and obscure that they were inaccessible to a mass audience. ” He argues simultaneously for the renewal of a broad public for poetry and for the revolutionary purpose of proletarian poetry, as he asserts that revolutionary poets share two aims: “to prepare themselves for the new role of poetry” and “to make their poetry a weapon for the overthrow of capitalism” (Schneider ).

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