By Clemens Spahr
Tackling issues equivalent to globalization and political activism, this e-book lines engaged poetics in twentieth century American poetry. Spahr offers a complete view of activist poetry, beginning with the nice melancholy and the Harlem Renaissance and relocating to the Beats and modern writers similar to Amiri Baraka and Mark Nowak.
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Additional info for A Poetics of Global Solidarity: Modern American Poetry and Social Movements
Forming the structure of the new society within the jails of the old” (717). The song lyrics and poems emerging in the context of the IWW were intended to create a sense of solidarity among the working class. In addition to the appeal these songs and poems had for working-class people, they were also instrumental in recruiting a large number of middle-class intellectuals such as Dos Passos. ), Dos Passos relates how, from the window of his Harvard dormitory, he witnessed “millworkers marching with a red brass band through the streets of Lawrence Massachusetts” (263).
All of the poets and lyricists discussed in this chapter, from Bob Dylan to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, and Denise Levertov, were involved in the social movements of the 1960s. The sea changes in world politics and the constitution of the New Left with its liberation politics not only enabled new coalitions but also made it more difficult to place one’s poetry in the context of often contradictory social movements. The poets discussed here attempted to forge the (often contradictory) impulses of various social movements into an enabling, antisystemic poetics of resistance.
The third chapter, “Remapping America: The Epic Geography of Post–World War II American Poetry,” discusses Thomas McGrath’s Letter to an Imaginary Friend (whose first part was published in 1957), Norman Rosten’s The Big Road (1946), and Melvin Tolson’s Libretto for the Republic of Liberia (1953), three epic poems written during a crisis in the history of progressive social movements. As opposed to the classical epos of Homer and Virgil, which assisted an emergent national identity, these poets destabilize nation-centered and nationalist ideologies, assigning the United States a more modest role in the parliament of nations.
A Poetics of Global Solidarity: Modern American Poetry and Social Movements by Clemens Spahr