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The Grounding of American Poetry
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  • Page extent: 186 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.399 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521443036 | ISBN-10: 0521443032)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published May 1993

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$108.00 (C)

Stephen Fredman asserts in his latest work that American poetry is groundless--that each generation of American poets faces the problem of identity anew and discovers for itself fresh meaning. His argument focuses on four pairs--Eliot-Williams, Thoreau-Olson, Emerson-Duncan and Whitman-Creeley--and illustrates how Williams, Olson, Duncan and Creeley are all influenced by these predecessors to some extent but that ultimately their poetry is paradoxically grounded in an essential groundlessness. In order to demonstrate how approaches to groundlessness have persisted over time, Fredman explores the measures taken by these American poets to provide a provisional ground upon which to build their poetry: inventing idiosyncratic traditions, forming poetic communities, engaging in polemical prose, assessing all the dimensions of particular places, and treating words as emblematic and mysterious objects. At the very center of the book stands Charles Olson, whose work so dramatically articulates the whole range of issues arising from the American poet's anxious search for, and resistance to, an authentic and unified tradition.


Introduction; 1. Williams, Eliot and American tradition; 2. Finding out for oneself; 3. Resistance and poetic community; 4. The poetics of recognition; 5. Circles and boundaries; 6. Conclusion; Notes; Index.


"..six chapters of excellent close readings." Choice

"Cogent, persuasive and at times dazzling, this book makes an impressive and innovative contribution to understanding the influence of Emerson and the transcendentalists on the Black Mountain poets in particular, but also American poetic practice in general." Tim Woods, English

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