Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture / Edition 2

Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture / Edition 2

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University of Alabama Press
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Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture / Edition 2

"What have I in common with Jews? I hardly have anything in common with myself!"
--Franz Kafka

Kafka's quip--paradoxical, self-questioning, ironic--highlights vividly some of the key issues of identity and self-representation for Jewish writers in the 20th century. No group of writers better represents the problems of Jewish identity than Jewish poets writing in the American modernist tradition--specifically secular Jews: those disdainful or suspicious of organized religion, yet forever shaped by those traditions.

This collection of essays is the first to address this often obscured dimension of modern and contemporary poetry: the secular Jewish dimension. Editors Daniel Morris and Stephen Paul Miller asked their contributors to address what constitutes radical poetry written by Jews defined as "secular," and whether or not there is a Jewish component or dimension to radical and modernist poetic practice in general. These poets and critics address these questions by exploring the legacy of those poets who preceded and influenced them--Stein, Zukofsky, Reznikoff, Oppen, and Ginsberg, among others.

While there is no easy answer for these writers about what it means to be a Jew, in their responses there is a rich sense of how being Jewish reflects on their aesthetics and practices as poets, and how the tradition of the avant-garde informs their identities as Jews. Fragmented identities, irony, skepticism, a sense of self as "other" or "outsider," distrust of the literal, and belief in a tradition that questions rather than answers--these are some of the qualities these poets see as common to themselves, the poetry they make, and the tradition they work within.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780817316754
Publisher: University of Alabama Press
Publication date: 11/15/2009
Series: Modern & Contemporary Poetics Series
Edition description: 1st Edition
Pages: 552
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Meet the Preface Stephen Paul Miller xiii

Introduction Daniel Morris 1

Radical Jewish Culture / Secular Jewish Practice Charles Bernstein 12

Who or What Is a Jewish American Poet, with Specific Reference to David Antin, Charles Bernstein, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, and Jerome Rothenberg Hank Lazer 18

The House of Jews: Experimental Modernism and Traditional Jewish Practice Jerome Rothenberg 32

Zukofsky at 100: Zukofsky as a Body of Work Bob Perelman 40

Addendum: On "The Jewish Question": Three Perspectives Bob Perelman 49

Light(silence)word Norman Fischer 60

On Yiddish Poetry and Translation of Yiddish Poetry Kathryn Hellerstein 71

An "Exotic" on East Broadway: Mikhl Likht and the Paradoxes of Yiddish Modernist Poetry Merle Bachman 79

Revisiting Charles Reznikoff's Urban Poetics of Diaspora and Contingency Ranen Omer-Sherman 103

Looking at Louis Zukofsky's Poetics through Spinozist Glasses Joshua Schuster 127

"Can a jew be wild": The Radical Jewish Grammar of Gertrude Stein's Voices Poems Amy Feinstein 151

Remains of the Diaspora: A Personal Meditation Michael Heller 170

Secular and Sacred: Returning (to) the Repressed Ali$a Ostriker 184

Mi$ashic Sensibilities: Secular Judaism and Radical Poetics (A personal essay in se$al chapters) Ra$el Blau DuPlessis 199

Secular Jewish Culture and Its Radical Poetic Discontents Norman Finkelstein 225

Radical Relation: Jewish Identity and the Power of Contradictions in the Poetics of Muriel Rukeyser and George Oppen Meg Schoerke 245

"Yes and No, Not Either/Or": Aesthetics, Identity, and Marjorie Perloff's Vienna Paradox Daniel Morris 274

"Sound Scraps, Vision Scraps": Paul Celan's Poetic Practice Marjorie Perloff 287

Language in the Dark: The Legacy of Walter Benjamin in the Opera Shadowtime Charlie Bertsch 310

Danger, Skepticism, and Democratic Longing: Five Contemporary Secular Jewish American Poets Thomas Fink 323

Relentlessly Going On and On: How Jews Remade Modern Poetry without Even Trying Stephen Paul Miller 343

Azoy Toot a Yid: Secular Poetics and "The Jewish Way" Eric Murphy Selinger 354

A Jew in New York Bob Holman 378

Imp$penetrable Archive: Adeena Karasick's Wall of Sound Ma$ia Damon 379

In the Shadow of Desire: Charles Bernstein's Shadowtime and Its Kabbalistic Trajectories Adeena Karasick 397

Hijacking Language: Kabbalistic Trajectories Adeena Karasick 409

Letter to the Romans Benjamin Friedlander 418

White Paul Auster 439

Contributors 441

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