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By Angus Fletcher

Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the demise of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a smart and committed literary voice, sounds a observe of strong, tempered optimism. He lays out a clean method of American poetry at huge, the 1st in numerous a long time, expounding a safety of the paintings that would resonate good into the hot century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the satisfied or rebellious childrens of eu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a unique lineage for American poetry. His element of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the significantly American imaginative and prescient expressed via Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this publication insists that "the complete thought and nature of poetry" wishes suggestion from technology whether it is to accomplish a really democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity conception and on basics of paintings and grammar, Fletcher argues that our most interesting poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in target, allowing poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. excessive, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics exhibits how present 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, enhanced human capacities. Poetry, the writer continues, is significant to any coherent imaginative and prescient of lifestyles. (20040125)

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Additional info for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination

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S. Peirce’s semiotic domain, to an aesthetic continuum that enters our thinking in an appreciation of our human play of signs. Thus for the poet the One must fall, becoming simply the supreme omnisignificant sign—the hypersign—working along with a myriad apparently lesser signs. Above all, the poet prevents any hypersign or “godterm” from arrogating rulership. Some ideas and their names may control larger conceptions than others, but there is in poetry an abiding upper limit of movement toward a transcendent level of power masquerading as a mode of ultimate fixed Being.

John Ashbery, we shall see, stretches the forms to exploit prose-poetry in the French manner. The genius of Enlightenment thought and action had allowed a gradual extension of mood in poetry, as the shift toward feeling (after the epochal                          Sterne and Mackenzie and other sentimental fiction writers) permeated literature at large, including gothic descriptions that atmospherically drive the action of novels, stories, and poems, where now we come to expect actions motivated by ambience.

The poet of change generally stays more alert than the average person to C. S. Peirce’s semiotic domain, to an aesthetic continuum that enters our thinking in an appreciation of our human play of signs. Thus for the poet the One must fall, becoming simply the supreme omnisignificant sign—the hypersign—working along with a myriad apparently lesser signs. Above all, the poet prevents any hypersign or “godterm” from arrogating rulership. Some ideas and their names may control larger conceptions than others, but there is in poetry an abiding upper limit of movement toward a transcendent level of power masquerading as a mode of ultimate fixed Being.

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