By A. Mossin
Male Subjectivity and Poetic shape in "New American" Poetry examines the an important, but occasionally fraught connections among poets linked to Donald Allen's groundbreaking 1960 anthology, the hot American Poetry. Focusing particularly on pairings of writers in the higher grouping of poets, together with Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and Nathaniel Mackey, this publication indicates how literary partnerships grew to become pivotal to the writing, in particular at early levels in those poets' careers. Mossin then is going directly to learn the position that male friendship, competition, and camaraderie play within the creation of poetic texts. "No one listens to poetry," Jack Spicer famously wrote. This ebook exhibits how a specific team of poets did hearken to one another and what they made from what they heard.
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Extra resources for Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in New American Poetry (Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics)
As with Whitman, whose emphasis on the male body as prima facie condition of writing Olson shared, one cannot easily stand outside (or inside) the masculinist context of Olson’s poetry: that is, a reader is either seduced by the language and enacted mythos of manhood or is likely to feel excluded by the exhortation of masculinity flowing out of the text (that certain women readers might be more likely to find Olson’s posturing harder to take than men doesn’t alter the way in which his writing inflicts its authority in such a way that its intended audience or “company” remains insistently male—and a particular kind of man at that).
And for one straight reason: that it must be faced, that we have lost secrets of both the physiology of the human voice, and its usage. (Olson and Boldereff 164) Notable here in this “unpublished” version of the essay are the ways in which Olson was still struggling to shake loose (rather openly) of the marked phrasing of Pound’s poetics (“to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase”). His argument here that “if this sounds like what we have heard before. Only it ain’t,” betrays both the level of confidence Olson had in his ability to convert any opposition by emphasis (“It ain’t”) and the way in which Olson understood his role as pedagogue, bringing up past lessons as new material for another generation of poets.
Some of this work took place in private correspondence, later bleeding into the poetry and poetics in startling and chastening ways. Far from having little bearing on the work itself, Olson’s protracted assertions of masculinity were fundamental to his leap from epigone to Maximus. The letters to Creeley in particular evince approaches to masculinity that, from our vantage point of the early twenty-first century, may seem almost arcane in their continual swerving from tough-guy mannerism and patristic directive to considered intimacy and affection.