Notes on Contributors viii
1 Wars I Have Seen 11
American poets’ response to war, with particular attention to Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, George Oppen, Susan Howe, and Lyn Hejinian.
2 Pleasure at Home: How Twentieth-century American Poets Read the British 33
How US poets responded and reacted to British poetry, in particular, Romanticism, focusing on Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, Cleanth Brooks, Charles Olson, Frank O’Hara, and Adrienne Rich.
3 American Poet-teachers and the Academy 55
Discusses the relationship between poets and the academy, with attention to Ezra Pound, the Fugitives,
Charles Olson, the anthology wars, creative writing programs, African-American poetry, Charles Bernstein,
and Language poetry.
4 Feminism and the Female Poet 75
Lynn Keller and Cristanne Miller
Twentieth-century poetry developed in the context of evolving feminist thought and activism, as demonstrated in the work of Marianne Moore, Gertrude Stein, H. D., Muriel Rukeyser, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Sonia Sanchez, and Harryette Mullen.
5 Queer Cities 95
The relationship between gay urban sensibility and poetic form, with discussions of Gertrude Stein, Djuna
Barnes, Hart Crane, Frank O’Hara, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, and Allen Ginsberg.
6 Twentieth-century Poetry and the New York Art World 113
Brian M. Reed
Poetic responses to New York’s avant-garde tradition in the visual arts, with attention to Mina Loy, William
Carlos Williams, Frank O’Hara, John Cage, John Ashbery, Jackson Mac Low, and Susan Howe.
7 The Blue Century: Brief Notes on Twentieth-century African-American Poetry 135
Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Discusses the effect that the blues and jazz have had on twentieth-century African-American poets, including Paul Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Robert Hayden, Gayl Jones, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Michael Harper.
8 Home and Away: US Poetries of Immigration and Migrancy 151
A. Robert Lee
The ongoing arrival of populations from beyond US borders and internal migration, as reflected in
poetry – WASP to African American, Jewish to Latino/a, Euro-American to Native American.
9 Modern Poetry and Anticommunism 173
A survey of the complex association of modern poetry and American communism (and anticommunism),
including discussions of Muriel Rukeyser, William Carlos Williams, Genevieve Taggard, Wallace Stevens, and Kenneth Fearing.
10 Mysticism: Neo-paganism, Buddhism, and Christianity 191
Why mysticism appeals to American poets and how it affects their poetry, focusing upon Ezra Pound, H. D., T. S. Eliot, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, John Cage, Gary Snyder, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and Fanny Howe.
11 Poets and Scientists 212
Shows how poets, including William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, Robert Creeley, Charles
Olson, Ron Silliman, Myung Mi Kim, and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge have responded to modern technology and the new sciences of physics and genetics.
12 Philosophy and Theory in US Modern Poetry 231
Addresses the role of ideas and theory in modern poetry, with examples drawn from Wallace Stevens,
Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, the New Critics, and many others.
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
- 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.