Ethics and Politics in Modern American Poetry

By John Wrighton

© 2009 – Routledge

222 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415801225
pub: 2009-07-21
US Dollars$150.00
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About the Book

From the Objectivists to e-poetry, this thoughtful and innovative book explores the dynamic relationship between the ethical imperative and poetic practice, revitalizing the study of the most prominent post-war American poets in a fresh, provocative way. Contributing to the "turn to ethics" in literary studies, the book begins with Emmanual Levinas’ philosophy, proposing that his reorientation of ontology and ethics demands a social responsibility. In poetic practice this responsibility for the other, it is argued, is both responsive to the traumatized semiotics of our shared language and directed towards an emancipatory social activism.

Individual chapters deal with Charles Olson’s The Maximus Poems (including reproductions of previously unpublished archive material), Gary Snyder’s environmental poetry, Allen Ginsberg’s Beat poetics, Jerome Rothenberg’s ethnopoetics, and Bruce Andrew’s Language poetry. Following the book’s chronological and contextual approach, their work is situated within a constellation of poetic schools and movements, and in relation to the shifting socio-political conditions of post-war America. In its redefinition and extension of the key notion of "poethics" and, as guide to the development of experimental work in modern American poetry, this book will interest and appeal to a wide audience.

Table of Contents

List of Figures Permissions Acknowledgments 1: Introduction: The Poethical Trajectory 2: Charles Olson’s Ethics of Form in The Maximus Poems 3: Environmental Ethics in the Poetry of Gary Snyder 4: Sub-cultural Self-othering and the Beat Poetics of Allen Ginsberg 5: The Welcome of the Other: Jerome Rothenberg’s Ethnopoetics 6: Traumatised Semiotics: The Turn to Language and Bruce Andrews’ Poethical Praxis 7: Conclusion: The Performative Dialogics of Poethical Praxis Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

John Wrighton has a PhD in English from Aberystwyth University, UK.

About the Series

Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT004020
LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General
LIT014000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Poetry