Fall ’22–ENGL 532: American Poetry after 1900

ENGL 532: American Poetry after 1900
Professor: Dr. Anton Vander Zee
Location: CofC
Time: Wednesday 5:30 – 8:15

The power of what the poet Robert Creeley would call a “company”–a group of fellow travelers in art and life who share certain core ideas about what poetry might accomplish–has long sustained American poets. At times, these groups take on the language of coalitions and movements, whether avant-garde or rear-guard. At other times they suggest an artistic flowering, using the language of poetic renaissance. And at times, they take on the institutional language of a “school.” Whether we are talking about the Objectivists or the San Francisco Renaissances, the Black Arts or the Black Mountain movements, the New Formalists or the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, the New York School or the Darkroom Collective, the Confessionals or the Beats, the coalitions of CantoMundo or Cave Canem, such assemblages can help poets make sense of themselves, and they help critics organize—both aesthetically and ideologically, in the moment or in retrospect—the explosive growth of American poetry since the mid-twentieth century.

In this class, we will take this broader tendency to “school” our diverse American poetries as a point of departure: How did such schools come to be? What do these schools clarify? What do they obscure? Who gets included? And who remains on the outside? In addition to a diverse range of poems from across the twentieth century, readings will include primary sources such as manifestos, poetics essays and glimpses into historically important anthologies. Our goal will be to become familiar with the most important movements and poets in American poetry after World War II through reading, writing, discussion, creative engagement, and research.

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