By Angus Fletcher
Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the dying of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a smart 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 security of the artwork that might resonate good into the recent century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the satisfied or rebellious kids of ecu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a unique lineage for American poetry. His aspect of departure is the interesting English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the significantly American imaginative and prescient expressed through Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this e-book insists that "the complete idea and nature of poetry" wishes proposal from technology whether it is to accomplish a really democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity idea and on basics of artwork and grammar, Fletcher argues that our most interesting poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in goal, permitting poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. excessive, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics exhibits how ultra-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, notable a blow opposed to all economically sanctioned assaults upon the finer, better human capacities. Poetry, the writer continues, is relevant to any coherent imaginative and prescient of existence. (20040125)
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Extra resources for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination
Would it were a better world, but we must begin with whatever it is, however full of change it is, which explains why we begin at the phenomenal level of sense and perception and wonderment. Networked ideas must not prescribe what is taken to belong to nature, or we shall lose what is poetically significant, since poetry is always a meditation on human time. The One is of course another name for what most people loosely and uncritically call God. That fact alone is sufficient to alienate the poet who, if he or she does not precisely rival a divine creative power, is alerted by the mere condition of art and craft to understand that the One, to be a sort of Godhead, must cease to be a term or sign.
Walking, prose, and verse come together. In American natural history, the greatest walker and perhaps the greatest poet among prose writers is not Emerson, nor perhaps even William Bartram in Florida, but Thoreau. ”4 In “Autumnal Hints” he states the principles of what I shall be calling description: “Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them; for there is no power to see in the eye itself, any more than in any other jelly.
Since Clare makes obvious contact with environment, and he uses couplets for the purpose, why should we assume that Miltonic blank verse better catches the weave of nature? Is not Wordsworth’s walking rhythm a powerfully natural effect? True, Clare’s sonnets in particular show how couplets could be made virtually to disappear, by means of an undoing containment of their sharp symmetries within the fourteen-line structure; Clare’s rhymes seem often almost not to rhyme, even when perfectly consonant.
A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination by Angus Fletcher