By Angus Fletcher
Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the demise of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a sensible and devoted literary voice, sounds a observe of strong, tempered optimism. He lays out a clean method of American poetry at huge, the 1st in different a long time, expounding a safeguard of the paintings that may resonate good into the hot century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the satisfied or rebellious youngsters of eu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a different lineage for American poetry. His aspect of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the substantially American imaginative and prescient expressed through Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this e-book insists that "the entire idea and nature of poetry" wishes notion from technology whether it is to accomplish a very democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity concept and on basics of artwork and grammar, Fletcher argues that our most interesting poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in objective, allowing poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. excessive, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics indicates how modern consumerist and conformist tradition subverts the mind's eye of a unfastened humans. whereas centering on American imaginative and prescient, the argument extends our horizon, amazing a blow opposed to all economically sanctioned assaults upon the finer, more desirable human capacities. Poetry, the writer continues, is vital to any coherent imaginative and prescient of existence. (20040125)
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Additional resources for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination
Clare was later to recall this fear, discovering in every encounter uncanny powers whose apprehension was to haunt him for the rest of his life. In this he resembles other Romantics, yet his quest differs. ” This particular landfall for the child was significantly ominous, reminding us that in country life the untoward is uncanny, because the voyager on land as upon the sea can hope to encompass the earth with one particular spot of home beckoning to the eye, but there is always danger, and approaching a harbor is the trickiest navigation of all.
The presence and absence of the descriptive detail provides the nub of Auerbach’s Mimesis. Description may not be the most intense response to our natural surroundings, but it is certainly the fullest, nor does it ever lack thoughtful purpose. Even so, criteria for true, or complete, or legitimate descriptions will vary widely, depending on historical periods and broader visionary aims, as Auerbach showed. What he called the “representation of reality” involves not only our perceptual and cognitive skills and devices (the moon seen through a telescope or seen by the naked eye), but at the same time as perceptual habits flourish or die away, our powers of description develop varying epistemic rules, to use Fou- cault’s well-known formula.
There is perhaps no final horizon of our ideas, although within the sphere of our senses there is that narrower perceptual horizon toward which our senses carry our thoughts like an invisible cargo of selfhood. 3 Rushing madly toward the unbounded, beyond the known, the untamed flood is no longer a placid river of time. —On roars the flood—all restless to be free Like trouble wandering to eternity As we shall see throughout this book, horizon may or may not imply transcendent dimensions of thought, but at least for the poets I am considering, horizon always implies description.
A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination by Angus Fletcher