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A Concise Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry

Stephen Fredman (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-4144-4
288 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
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This Concise Companion gives readers a rich sense of how the poetry produced in the United States during the twentieth century is connected to the country’s intellectual life more broadly.
  • Helps readers to fully appreciate the poetry of the period by tracing its historical and cultural contexts.
  • Written by prominent specialists in the field.
  • Places the poetry of the period within contexts such as: war; feminism and the female poet; poetries of immigration and migration; communism and anti-communism; philosophy and theory.
  • Each chapter ranges across the entire century, comparing poets from one part of the century to those of another.
  • New syntheses make the volume of interest to scholars as well as students and general readers.
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    Notes on Contributors.

    Acknowledgments.

    Chronology.

    Introduction.

    1 Wars I Have Seen: Peter Nicholls (University of Sussex).

    2 Pleasure at Home: How Twentieth-Century American Poets Read the British: David Herd (University of Kent).

    3 American Poet-Teachers and the Academy: Alan Golding (University of Louisville).

    4 Feminism and the Female Poet: Lynn Keller (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Cristanne Miller (Pomona College).

    5 Queer Cities: Maria Damon (University of Minnesota).

    6 Twentieth-Century Poetry and the New York Art World: Brian M. Reed (University of Washington).

    7 The Blue Century: Brief Notes on Twentieth Century African-American Poetry: Rowan Ricardo Phillips (SUNY, Stony Brook).

    8 Home and Away: US Poetries of Immigration and Migrancy: A. Robert Lee (Nihon University, Tokyo).

    9 Modern Poetry and Anti-Communism: Alan Filreis (University of Pennsylvania).

    10 Mysticism: Neo-paganism, Buddhism, and Christianity: Stephen Fredman (University of Notre Dame).

    11 Poets and Scientists: Peter Middleton (University of Southampton).

    12 Philosophy, Theory in U.S. Modern Poetry: Michael Davidson (University of California, San Diego).

    Index.

    .

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    Stephen Fredman is Professor of English and Department Chair at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of three books of criticism; Poet’s Prose: The Crisis in American Verse (1983), The Grounding of American Poetry: Charles Olson and the Emersonian Tradition (1993), and A Menorah for Athena: Charles Reznikoff and the Jewish Dilemmas of Objectivist Poetry (2001). He has translated three books from Spanish and is also the author of Seaslug, a book of poetry.
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    • A wide-ranging overview of twentieth-century American poetry and its contexts.

    • Gives readers a rich sense of how the poetry of this period is connected to the country’s intellectual life more broadly.

    • Helps readers to fully appreciate the poetry of the period by tracing its historical and cultural contexts.

    • Written by prominent specialists in the field.

    • Places the poetry of the period within contexts such as: war; feminism and the female poet; poetries of immigration and migration; communism and anti-communism; philosophy and theory.

    • Each chapter ranges across the entire century, comparing poets from one part of the century to those of another.

    • New syntheses make the volume of interest to scholars as well as students and general readers.
    See More
    This book offers a fresh and comprehensive reading of modern American poetry in several important ways. It takes in the whole of the twentieth century instead of dividing into decades like the twenties and thirties or into periods labelled Modernism and Postmodernism. Moreover, instead of focusing on individual poets, the successive chapters relate an often overlapping range of poets to the crucial and defining cultural issues within which the poetry took form and direction and to which the poetry spoke. Stephen Fredman has assembled an extraordinary group of critics to write the chapters. There is nothing else like this rich and trenchant book in the field of modern poetry.


    Albert Gelpi, Stanford University



    If I had to recommend a single book on the culture of twentieth-American poetry to students or colleagues, I would choose Stephen Fredman's Concise Companion. Fredman wisely decided to treat the entire century as a whole rather than adopting the usual Modernist/Postmodernist division or treating decades and poets separately. From the opening "Wars I Have Seen" to the final treatment of philosophy and theory in U.S. poetry, Fredman's contributors carefully examine the intersecting worlds of our poetry-- the New York art world, the impact of various diasporas, and the curious intersections with politics, gender, and religion. Yet the poetry itself always comes first, and no reader can fail to profit from these clearly written, concise, and truly expert chapters.


    Marjorie Perloff, Stanford University

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