Discrepant Engagement: Dissonance, Cross-Culturality and Experimental Writing

Overview

This highly regarded and frequently referenced work of literary criticism is essential to any study of avant garde poetics.

Nathaniel Mackey addresses the poetry and prose of a number of authors not commonly grouped together: black writers from the United States and the Caribbean and the so-called Black Mountain poets. Although they are seemingly disparate, these writers are united by their experimentation with style and form. Mackey, an important contemporary poet and critic, ...

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Overview

This highly regarded and frequently referenced work of literary criticism is essential to any study of avant garde poetics.

Nathaniel Mackey addresses the poetry and prose of a number of authors not commonly grouped together: black writers from the United States and the Caribbean and the so-called Black Mountain poets. Although they are seemingly disparate, these writers are united by their experimentation with style and form. Mackey, an important contemporary poet and critic, focuses on the experimental aspects of their work rather than on its subject matter or authorship to show that they all share an implied critique of conventional poetic practices.

Mackey analyzes the work of Black Mountain poets Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Charles Olson, African American poets Amiri Baraka and Clarence Major, and Caribbean writers Edward Kamau Brathwaite and Wilson Harris. He frequently brings the work of these authors into dialogue and juxtaposition, noting the parallels and counterpoint that exist among writers normally separated by ethnic, temporal, or regional boundaries. By insisting that their experimentation unites these writers rather than marginalizes them, Mackey questions traditional notions that underlie conventional perceptions and practice.

In his epilogue and bibliographic essay, volume editor Michael Conniff suggests new directions for further research and offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of major writings, theories, and methodologies in the field.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Insisting on the political importance of radical innovation without the trappings of intellectual fashion, tempered by an awareness of the historical scale of his assertions, and challenging liberal notions of cultural pluralism and artistic opposition, Nathaniel Mackey makes an important, sophisticated contribution to current debates about cultural diversity and the political relevance of experimental writing."
—Contemporary Literature

"Nathaniel Mackey has accomplished his task admirably. Discrepant Engagement demands from us an openness to alternative frames of reference and a recognition of the ways in which traditional categories restrict our own perceptions of the potential for intertextuality among cultures, literary schools, races, regions, and rubrics."
—African American Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817310325
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Series: Modern & Contemporary Poetics Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 214
  • Sales rank: 1,197,154
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Mackey is Professor of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction: And All the Birds Sing Bass 1
2 The Changing Same: Black Music in the Poetry of Amiri Baraka 22
3 To Define An Ultimate Dimness: The Poetry of Clarence Major 49
4 The World-Poem in Microcosm: Robert Duncan's "The Continent" 66
5 Uroboros: Robert Duncan's Dante and A Seventeenth Century Suite 88
6 Robert Creeley's The Gold Diggers: Projective Prose 104
7 That Words Can Be on the Page: The Graphic Aspect of Charles Olson's Poetics 121
8 New Series I (Folk Series): Edward Kamau Brathwaite's New World Trilogy 139
9 Limbo, Dislocation, Phantom Limb: Wilson Harris and the Caribbean Occasion 162
10 Poseidon (Dub Version) 180
11 The Unruly Pivot: Wilson Harris's The Eye of the Scarecrow 191
12 The Imagination of Justice: Wilson Harris's Ascent to Omai 214
13 Sound and Sentiment, Sound and Symbol 231
14 On Edge 260
15 Other: From Noun to Verb 265
Notes 287
Index 305
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