Fictions of Form in American Poetry - Princeton Legacy Library 274 by Stephen Cushman
In 1830, Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that American writers would look small, even despise, and make up - that they preferred a system sensitive to rationality. He suggested that this…
Fictions of Form in American Poetry synopsis
In 1830, Alexis de Tocqueville predicted that American writers would look small, even despise, and make up - that they preferred a system sensitive to rationality. He suggested that this position is linked to the concept of distinct democracy in America.
Stephen Kushman reveals the inaccuracy of these claims when applied to poetry, asserts that American poets tend to overestimate the formal aspects of their art, and therefore overstate the relationship between those aspects of official and different ideas of America. In this book, Kushman studies poems and prose statements that describe various poets such as Emily Dickinson and Azra Pound as their poetic forms, and examines the links and comparisons between poets' concepts of form and their concepts of "Americans." The book begins with a brief discussion about Whitman, who said: "The United States itself is in essence the greatest poem." Kushman takes this to mean that Americanpoetry has succeeded in making stories about himself, persuading his readers that his uniqueness transcends geographical boundaries only.
The truth of this statement is explored by looking at American Emily Dickinson, Ezra Pound, Elizabeth Bishop, R. Emmons.
And concludes that the uniqueness of Americanpoetry does not lie in its forms as in the formality and in the different positions revealed by the theory. Originally published in 1993.
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