"Oppen (1908-84) is a significant figure in 20th-century poetry, but the significance of his work came to light only after his death and the posthumous publication of his letters and poems (The Selected Letters of George Oppen, ed. by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, CH, Feb'91, 28-3178; New Collected Poems, ed. by Michael Davidson, 2002; Selected Poems, ed. by Robert Creeley, 2003; Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers, ed. by Stephen Cope, CH, Jun'08, 45-5431) and of Peter Nicholls's magisterial George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism (CH, Sep'08, 46-0144). The essays Shoemaker (Connecticut College) gathers are by turns probing, polemical, and performative--attributes that characterize Oppen's life and work. The contributors include poets who were close to Oppen (Theodore Enslin, John Taggart, Michael Haller, Henry Weinfield, Rachel Blau DuPlessis), poets/critics in the Language poetry circle or generation (Charles Bernstein, Ron Silliman, Lyn Hejinian, Michael Davidson, Forrest Gander), academic critics (John Lowney, Nicholls), and poets/critics of a later generation (Kristin Prevallet, Shoemaker). Many of the pieces center on Oppen's silence between Discrete Series (1934) and the late 1950s, figuring this silence as a metaphor for gaps between modernism/postmodernism, thinking/knowledge, and politics/aesthetics. This collection reengages the reader with Oppen's life and work and encourages thinking about poetics. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty."
“This volume will make an important contribution to our knowledge of Oppen’s work and will become a key book for Oppen’s readers as well as for new readers of Oppen’s poetry.”
Hank Lazer, author of Lyric & Spirit, Selected Essays, 19962008, and fifteen books of poetry.