Modern and Contemporary
American Poetry (What is originality?, How can we…
Self-constrained to the sonnet form in American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Draws on contemporary events (the election of Donald Trump, police brutality and murder of innocents) to ground his poetry in a specific historical context
Draws links between repetition and self assertion
Consistent use of a lyric "I" combined with frequent second person address suggests intersubjectivity grounds all personal experience (These American Sonnets are addressed to someone--his past and future assassin)
Makes an Italian/English form cocnerned with self-expression "American", indicating there are certain peculiarities of an American experience which should be captured in poetry
Tells the story of two feral children in India from a series of perspectives including a poet, the two children themselves, and their caretaker
Use of prose fragments leads to an unconventional narrative structure which subverts "rationality"
Problematizes the opposition between human an animal both within the specific context of anecdotes about the two feral children and in a larger abstract context--has the effect of connecting the speakers, the reader, and the subject of the poetic project
Puts historical facts into her poetry but formally obfuscates the actual chronology of events to make the narrative more universally relevant.
Documents the experiences of victims of the Hawk's Nest incident in West Virginia
Reforms the first person accounts of the victims into verse.
Blurs the line between the poetry and journalism
Often keeps the voice of the poet-journalist concealed to maintain gap between person documenting and documented and to isolate/amplify their accounts.
Implicates the reader with second person address "This is your..."
Invested in the embodied experience of black people in America and the physical toll systematic racism and microaggressions take on them (in both Don't Let Me Be Lonely and Citizen
Blurs the lines between personal anecdote and news story by telling both with a tone familiarity
Unlike Rukeyser, Rankine is not committed to keeping a distance between poet and subject
Both Don't Let Me Be Lonely and Citizen defy categorization and genre expectations--their inclusion of photographs and other visual art suggests an organizational approach concerned with making connections between many aspects of life and society.
Her work appropriates the experience of both strangers and people she knows to represent the experiences of trauma (ex: including an image of a victim of Alzheimer's property)
Preoccupation with breath (both in form and content)--in particular breath as an expression of embodiment (frequent references to lips, mouths, and physical manipulation of breath)
Foregrounds experiences in which bodies are made vulnerable such as the middle passage and hurricane Katrina
Draws implicit connection between the social oppression of people and damage to their bodies
The passing on of the experiences of a group of people demonstrates the formation of an oral history--the production of this oral history is inherently embodied when the a connection is made between voice and breath.
William Carlos Williams
His ekphrastic poems in Pictures from Bruegel
Tension between capturing the essence of the original and asserting poetic dominance over it
Demonstrates that all representation of visual art in poetry is also an appropriation
The poems appearing in the text by themselves (not next to their ekphrastic subjects) implicitly challenges the authority of the original
Appeals to formal poetic devices to build upon aspects of the original (the necessary chronology of a poem like "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" versus the suggestion of where one's eyes should look in the original painting.)
Bluets also ekphrasitic (the title comes from a painting which insipired the production of the text)\
Each "blue" may represent an original work of art the speaker wishes to capture in verse and her poetry may be seen as an appropriation of these "blues"
Skeptical about the incompatibility of the linguistic vs. extra-linguistic (especially in her spirituality chapters).
Not totally satisfied with theories of language which reduce all intersubjectivity to linguistic relations in a social symbolic order--thinks they cannot account for certain experiences.
Influenced by Stein's move of applying affectual descriptions to inanimate objects ("hurt colors")
Language is decentering--there is no necessary relationship between signifier and signified
"The difference is spreading" in "A carafe that is a blind glass" suggests the connection between word and referent is growing larger.
Embraces abstraction in the form of trange syntax, run on sentences, a likening of animate to inanimate, and a jamming of a definitional desir.
Employs a metonymic logic throughout her poetry to emphasize the relationship between words and how we think about them is not about exact, necessary representation, rather relative positions in a greater system.
Aware of the opacity of language--poems often draw links between words based purely on word-shape and position
Fleshy, physical descriptions.
Equates soul and body throughout his poetry (especially in "Song of Myself")
Articulates a shared experience among all things through touch and feeling.
Celebration of literal bodies, both his own and those of others
Leveling of all living things suggests the body is more important than something like a rational mind
Often characterized as a poet whose purpose was to express her inner self (her works being mainly published after her death used to support this)
Commitment to a first person "I" throughout her poetry indicates a preoccupation with subjectivity and self-expression
Variety in her speakers suggests her poetry is not merely a series of self-expression, rather it is highly crafted and invested in a multiplicity of characters and experiences
Poems which use images related to her life in New England and make reference to the process of writing poetry itself often prompt people to justify reading her work as an act of self-express
Problematizes the distinction between high and low art with his oscillation between pop-culture and high-culture references.
Emphasizes the performativity inherent in intimacy in IRL
Deals with themes surround social expectation and identity--especially with American Indian and Gay identities
Considers issues surrounding "story-telling" and its non-neutral role in self-expression, but also in oppression
Invested in the confessional form and the lyric "I" but subverts expectations through "over-sharing"--public/private distinction brought into question
Writes a series of fictional wills in The Compleat Purge
Brings into question notions of identity and the self in certain moments by reducing her experiences to a catalog of possessions to be distributed after her death.
Juxtaposition of legal-speak and informal expression articulates the ways in which identities are complicated by and malleable according to the contexts in which they exist
Engages with the confessional form and its association with femininity (a look into the private life, journal writing)
By accumulating wills which mark the end of life at increasing ages in the speakers life, Low challenges notions of personal growth in the self (in a way it is an anti-Bildungsroman)
Her confessional poetry concerns responding to the socially prescribed repression of the self (ex: "Lady Lazarus")
Poems are often structured by narratives revolving around self-assertion and self-definition
Regular meter and consistent rhyme schemes indicate her confessional poetry is carefully crafted--this runs counter to interpretations which claim her work is just raw-expression
Speakers in her poetry often claim others' experiences as their own suggesting authentic expression is not always genuine and that subjectivity is fragmented and crafted (ex: appropriating Jewish experience in "Daddy").
Makes a series of confessions to (often real) crimes which the speaker did not commit in his work Bribery
Offers a picture of subjectivity which is fragmented, a loose collection of experiences pieced together
Suggests the lying about oneself is as related to self-expression as telling the truth about oneself
Breathless, consistent flow of confession reminiscent of the widespread availability of information due to the internet--implicitly questions whether or not this dulls one's reactions to cruelty
Cathay presented as a work of translation despite Pound's inability to read Chinese at the time of its production
Thought there were certain "moods" which could be derived from all works of poetry regardless of cultural and language context
Implicitly argues that literal translations do not adequately capture their original works
His modernist slogan "make it new" implies the work of a translator is not to exactly replicate the original work
Myung Mi Kim
Writing from a bilingual perspective (Korean and English)
Sees resonances of imperial and cultural power dynamics in the relationships between languages--not just between speakers of these languages but the languages themselves
Deals with the issue of untranslatability by includes words and phrases in the original without a translation--translation is figured to be a kind of violence in this framework
Special attention to the role of sound in language and communication--language is more than just a social sign-system but carries with it tangible, physical dynamics
Ultimately attempts to counter the seemingly totalizing power of language which renders all human interaction understandable in linguistic terms
Embraces the language of scientific typology in her animal poems
Implicitly raises questions about the real or nominal power language has to categorize the world
Language fosters a relationship between people and the "real" represented by animals and nature--this relationship can be one of admiration or reverence as seen many of her animal poems like "To a Snail".
Images of fossils and erosion suggest trauma might be captured or understood through bodies (Her poem "The Fish" deals with this theme)
Problematizes opposition between surface and depth in "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror"
Considers the production of a self portrait and whether or not it captures the original image.
Invested in images of distortion which call into question the ability to properly represent the "real" or "true"
Broadly concerned with the centering of language and the relationship between signifier, signified, and referent.