Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in New American Poetry

Overview

Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in "New American" Poetry examines the crucial, yet sometimes fraught, connections between poets associated with Donald Allen's groundbreaking 1960 anthology, The New American Poetry. Focusing in particular on pairings of writers within the larger grouping of poets, including Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, Nathaniel Mackey, and Denise Levertov, this book suggests that literary partnerships became pivotal to the writing of these poets, especially at early stages in their careers. ...

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Overview

Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in "New American" Poetry examines the crucial, yet sometimes fraught, connections between poets associated with Donald Allen's groundbreaking 1960 anthology, The New American Poetry. Focusing in particular on pairings of writers within the larger grouping of poets, including Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, Nathaniel Mackey, and Denise Levertov, this book suggests that literary partnerships became pivotal to the writing of these poets, especially at early stages in their careers. Mossin then goes on to examine the role that male friendship, rivalry, and camaraderie play in the production of poetic texts. "No one listens to poetry." Jack Spicer famously wrote. This book shows how a particular group of poets did listen to each other and what they made of what they heard.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in "New American" Poetry offers an important study of masculinity in postwar poetry, showing the close relationship of innovative form, community, and collaborative debate. Mossin’s treatment of Duncan, Blaser, Olson, and Mackey complicates the politics of the lyric, seeing the form not as an unmediated access to identity but a site of socially inflected idiolects and gender indeterminacy. Building on key theoretical interrogations of gender performativity, Mossin explores the porous border between marginal identities and textual margins.”—Michael Davidson, author of Guys Like Us: Citing Masculinity in Cold War Poetics

“This remarkable and at times brilliant book offers detailed case-studies not only to investigate the construction of maleness, but to open up the much wider territory invoked by vexed questions: the nature of translation, the nature and role of lyric, the formation of community in an intransigently provisional, polyvocal, and distressed world. Mossin threads his way through the complex entanglement of poetic career, male subjectivity, and formalist concerns, as much to teach us how to read these difficult and always interesting poets as to reach any tentative conclusions. Essential reading.”—Peter Quartermain, author of Disjunctive Poetics from Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky to Susan Howe and editor of the forthcoming Collected Poems and Plays of Robert Duncan

"For several decades now, feminist critics have investigated the silences and ruptures that paradoxically inhabit poetry written by women. Poet-critic Andrew Mossin turbans his attention to the silences that fall on male poets as they embark on their careers. Like many of his feminist colleagues, and building on the important work on masculinity by Michael Davidson, Mossin finds that male poets find their way by constructing (often vexed) communities with other poets. His book accomplishes many things at once, offering the reader of contemporary American poetry rigorous scholarship; gender-based critiques; formal analysis; incisive close-readings of poetry by Olson, Duncan, Blaser, and Mackey; and an eloquent statement of his own poetics."—Susan M. Schultz, Professor of English, University of Hawaìi-Manoa

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Andrew Mossin is a nationally published poet and critic whose work has appeared in numerous jourbanals and magazines, including Conjunctions, Hambone, Callaloo, and Contemporary Literature.  His poetry collections include The Epochal Body and The Veil

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1 "In Thicket": Charles Olson, Poetic Career, and the Crisis of Cold War Masculinity 25

2 "Homosexual Advertising": Gay Subjectivity, Modernist Form, and Robert Duncan's The Venice Poem 65

3 In the Shadow of Nerval: Robert Duncan, Robin Blaser, and the Poetics of (Mis)Translation 101

4 Recovering the Public World: Robin Blaser, Hannah Arendt, and the Discourses of Self and Other in Image-Nations 1-12 129

5 "Collapsed Aura": Nathaniel Mackey, Robert Duncan, and the Poetics of Discrepant Subjectivity in "Song of the Andoumboulou" 159

Afterword: Toward a Poetics of Mutual Understanding 191

Notes 207

References 219

Index 233

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