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Topics in Modern American Poetry

ENGL 288.301
instructor(s):
MW 3-4:30

This will be a historical survey of moments in American poetry (and art--but mostly poetry) that have been identified by critics or self-identified as avant-garde. Definitions of what is or isn't avant-garde often verge on contradiction or tautology, but we will spend some time on these sets of issues--tradition, audience, the relation of art work and commentary--without worrying about final clarity. We will also do some comparison of American situations with European ones. Poets, artists and scenes we will investigate will include Whitman, Baudelaire, Rimbaud; Pound; Loy; Williams; Eliot; the Harlem Renaissance; the Black Mountain scene (Olson; Creeley; Cage); the New York School (O'Hara; Berrigan; Notley; Mayer).