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By Angus Fletcher

Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the demise of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a smart and devoted literary voice, sounds a observe of robust, tempered optimism. He lays out a clean method of American poetry at huge, the 1st in numerous many years, expounding a safety of the paintings that might resonate good into the recent century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the satisfied or rebellious childrens of ecu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a special lineage for American poetry. His aspect of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the noticeably American imaginative and prescient expressed via Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this e-book insists that "the complete thought and nature of poetry" wishes idea from technology whether it is to accomplish a really democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity concept and on basics of paintings and grammar, Fletcher argues that our best poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in objective, permitting poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. extreme, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics indicates how modern-day consumerist and conformist tradition subverts the mind's eye of a loose humans. whereas centering on American imaginative and prescient, the argument extends our horizon, notable a blow opposed to all economically sanctioned assaults upon the finer, enhanced human capacities. Poetry, the writer continues, is imperative to any coherent imaginative and prescient of lifestyles. (20040125)

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Additional info for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination

Example text

What is the relation between description and Enlightenment rationality? The question suggests that there can be such a Description  thing as transcendental description. Examples appear not only in Emerson and Whitman, but perhaps more curiously in Carlyle. Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet seems to be a satire on the desire to achieve this immiscible compound. V. Finally, what is the formal, historical, and factual relationship between description and our knowledge of the environment? The earlier notion of “natural history” suggests that in its environmental origin this relation mixed fact and story, as it mixed our human history with the externals of the evolution of natural forms (in Darwin’s manner).

Poetic politics wants to choose within a wide field of semiotic choices. Since Plato and his philosophic successors believe in the need for all-powerful “guardians”—the archons—they tend to refuse such drifts toward what we call democracy, which they would have questioned as a discouragement of nobility and stable government. After the lapse of many centuries, however, the Romantics promoted a more open vision and hence thought that poetry should derive from a more neutral nature, as opposed to any absolute godhead, or any other variety of the Platonic One.

Description, at first sight, has no internal principle of organization, neither narrative nor dramatic nor lyrical, but follows the scene observed. In theory, other ways to find it would do, but walking on a “pedestrian tour” was the most convenient approach to the experience, as walking allowed more detailed notice of the changing scene, which journals like those of Dorothy Wordsworth and especially Coleridge at once reveal. This kind of chronicling aims almost to be obsequious. When we think of the stylistic transition from Paradise Lost to The Prelude, we recognize a large transformation of the norms of The Argument of Form  the English grand style.

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