By Angus Fletcher
Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the demise of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a smart and devoted literary voice, sounds a word of strong, tempered optimism. He lays out a clean method of American poetry at huge, the 1st in different many years, expounding a protection of the artwork that may resonate good into the hot century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the satisfied or rebellious teenagers of eu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a special lineage for American poetry. His aspect of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the noticeably American imaginative and prescient expressed by means of Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this e-book insists that "the complete thought and nature of poetry" wishes suggestion from technological know-how whether it is to accomplish a really democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity concept and on basics of paintings and grammar, Fletcher argues that our best poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in goal, allowing poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. severe, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics exhibits how modern-day 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, awesome a blow opposed to all economically sanctioned assaults upon the finer, superior human capacities. Poetry, the writer keeps, is relevant to any coherent imaginative and prescient of lifestyles. (20040125)
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Additional resources for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination
But beyond this mathematical notion there lie vast stretches of varying expression in ordinary language, and these are the central puzzle for understanding the shift into what we call High Romanticism. A new enlargement of scope seems to have been the main requirement in terms of artistic form—a shift most obvious when we note the enlargement of musical forms in the classical repertoire. Full-scale Romanticism seems to have required, paradoxically, an art of lyrical description. It required an extension and new amplitude of scales of utterance, which is perhaps easiest to see and hear in the Romantic symphony, where eventually we reach Wagner and Mahler.
Even the most complex scientific work, as in highenergy physics, depends upon reductive geometric notions such as parity, spin, symmetry, and the like. Science acts as if it could escape the pleasure principle. Like religion, it aims at evading death, which it tries to manage by reducing the frightening variety of natural forces threatening a single-minded stability. William James found such an impulse to reduce underlying most of the varieties of religious experience, which suggests why, psychologically at least, science and technology can easily become a religion.
Rather, they say: this is what we see and sense in this world. 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.
A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination by Angus Fletcher