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The Materiality of Language – Lyn Hejinian’s “from The Distance”

Contemporary Poet Lyn Hejinian engages language as a “language poet” with humor and existential tonality. Her poems embody her experiences and existential observations  in a similar way to confessional poetry; however, she acknowledges her own perception as distinct from a reader’s with her satirical play with words and the changing pronouns to encompass herself, the […]

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A Freedom in Language Poetry

Oh, praise the Language poets for rescuing the prose poem! I’ll admit I was a bit down ☹ after the formalist opinions on the matter, which I take to be not hostile to prose poetry, but skeptical of the apparently harsh break from English lyric tradition. The readings for this week revealed some of the […]

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To Be in Any Form

I think I’ve brought up this line from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself: “To be in any form, what is that?” he asks. “Mine is no callous shell.” That line about shells can be read as a bit dismissive of traditional form, but what strikes me most is that first question–one that dominates American poetry: […]

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Exciting Digressions

I too am of a “vocal and articulate minority,” and too share similar repulsions with the New Formalists over the “tide of vapid free verse” (151), spewing from and within American MFA programs. Didn’t anybody ever tell you: nothing’s ever free! Everything comes with a price. This one is just logical positivism imbricated with liberal […]

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Formalism and “Assimilation”

In the spirit of the formalist poets of the twentieth century, I sought out to attempt to make form a valuable trait in the poem I wrote for this week’s blog post. The formalists argued that by moving entirely away from form, so much so that most of the top poets of the era were […]

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Looking At Nature In Cross, South Carolina

Three loblollies stand as thrones Of former monarchs, And there through the leaves of grass A copperhead moves. Sap, pollen, and singed fields Of forgotten crops sting the nose hairs. A shiplap dull colored house holds Hard the secrets of knowing. The well is full and pushes out With overflow. I have never known my […]

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