Post-War American Poetry: An Environmental Perspective

Author:James Sherry Time:2019-07-09 Click:

This essay describes the connections between the important groups of innovative, avant-garde, and experimental poetry and poetics emerging in the United States since the Vietnam War: language writing, Flarf, conceptualism, identity poetries, and environmental poetry. The method shows an example of how to look at writing through both close reading and from a distance. Understanding the variety of schools of the United States poetry since the Vietnam War to reveal their similarities, connections, and differences can only be accomplished if we take multiple points of view. No single perspective is sufficient to define the field. This essay first uses a third person description of the innovative poetry schools of the period. Next, it shows the changes in style that took place using the author’s first-person perspective as an editor, publisher, and writer of poetry and poetics. Then the essay shows the comparative position of those United States schools related to Chinese poetry of the same period as revealed in an experimental poetry translation anthology—The Reciprocal Translation Project. Finally, a graphical view of the United States schools shows their sequence. Since there is a wide range of viewpoints in poetry styles and poets who vary in age, styles, and aesthetics, it is difficult to judge an individual poem based solely on close reading. Adding to close reading, reading at a distance includes elucidation, clarification, social structure, and interactions among individuals to assist readers in reading poetry. This network of poetry establishes both a method for poetics and an example of how to reduce distorted analyses of poetry / poetics from a single critic.




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