New PDF release: A Usable Past: Essays on Modern and Contemporary Poetry

By Paul Mariani

ISBN-10: 0585186758

ISBN-13: 9780585186757

ISBN-10: 0870234455

ISBN-13: 9780870234453

Publication through Mariani, Paul

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Extra resources for A Usable Past: Essays on Modern and Contemporary Poetry

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In his early thirties he began to envision himself more and more as a revolutionary born into a time of revolutions: the revolution in American art signaled by John Reed and Big Bill Haywood and the Paterson strike of 1913, followed by Pancho Villa in Mexico andmost significantlythe Russian Revolution of 1917. Williams had only begun to come of age at that extraordinary period, and he knew he would need the next half century to work out the complex implications of his own revolution of the word.

What I would like to add at some point in the next few years is my unstinting praise for Tomlinson's cumulative poetic achievement. He is not an easy poet for an American to read and his pace and philosophical metabolism are slower than either Williams's or mine. A serious student of Wordsworth, his pace is more like Marianne Moore's than any other American poet I can think of. But he is worth our close attention, for few poets writing today can so evoke the signature of air or water or the familiar and unfamiliar landscapes of our centurythe English midlands, New Jersey, New Mexico, Provençal, La Speziawith the moral and aesthetic precision of Tomlinson.

It became clearer and clearer to me as I worked with Williams that he had pursued this theme through twenty years while he wrote his Stecher trilogy and watched his family of immigrants (based as they were on his wife's family) become stranded on the desert shores of that same American Dream. I saw the theme again in Williams's dream of Washington, the father who had persisted in spite of repeated military failures on Long Island and Manhattan and up and down the New Jersey coast until doggedly he had won through and made his dream of America a reality, at least for a short while.

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A Usable Past: Essays on Modern and Contemporary Poetry by Paul Mariani


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