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Crisis and the US Avant-Garde : Poetry and Real Politics, Hardback Book

Crisis and the US Avant-Garde : Poetry and Real Politics Hardback


Presents a major revaluation of experimental poetry's social function in the US.

In 1934, the Marxist and Modernist poet Louis Zukofsky was labelled a 'detached recorder of isolated events' by his communist contemporaries, a writer who 'identifies life with capitalism, and so assumes that the world is merely a wasteland'.

Crisis and the US Avant Garde charts the trajectory of this tension between avant garde poetics and vanguard politics since the twin legacies of Modernism and the Great Depression.

The book's radical reappraisal of twentieth century experimental poetry in the US reads major figures including Charles Olson, Denise Levertov and Amiri Baraka within a new approach to traditional notions of historical context, exploring the ways in which poetry can properly be said to respond to political crises.

Opposing the current critical focus on the politics of aesthetic form, Hickman explores the direct and practical relationships avant garde poets have had with power politics, social organization and cultural movements, providing a timely commentary on the role poetic culture might play in political struggle going forward into our own various contemporary crises. Reassesses the US avant garde's relation to political events; explains how we might talk about a 'context' for avant garde art; provides detailed readings of major poets, including Louis Zukofsky, Charles Olson, Denise Levertov, George Oppen, Amiri Baraka and others and Key reference point for experimental cultural politics today.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Literary studies: from c 1900 -
  • ISBN: 9780748682850

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