Introspection and Contemporary Poetry

by Alan Williamson

Harvard | March 14, 1984 | Hardcover

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In this bold defense of so-called confessional poetry, Alan Williamson shows us that much of the best writing of the past twenty-five years is about the sense of being or having a self, a knowable personal identity. The difficulties posed by this subject help explain the fertility of contemporary poetic experiment-from the jaggedness of the later work of Robert Lowell to the montage-like methods of John Ashbery, from the visual surrealism of James Wright and W. S. Merwin to the radical plainness of Frank Bidart. Williamson examines these and other poets from a psychological perspective, giving an especially striking reading of Sylvia Plath.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.88 in

Published: March 14, 1984

Publisher: Harvard

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0674462769

ISBN - 13: 9780674462762

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– More About This Product –

Introspection and Contemporary Poetry

by Alan Williamson

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 224 pages, 9.41 × 7.24 × 0.88 in

Published: March 14, 1984

Publisher: Harvard

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0674462769

ISBN - 13: 9780674462762

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. "I Am That I Am": The Ethics and Aesthetics of Personal Poetry
  3. Real and Numinous Selves: A Reading of Plath
  4. Language Against Itself: The Middle Generation of Contemporary Poets
  5. "Surrealism" and the Absent Self
  6. The Diffracting Diamond: Ashbery, Romanticism, and Anti-Art
  7. The Future of Personal Poetry
  • Notes
  • Credits
  • Index

From the Publisher

In this bold defense of so-called confessional poetry, Alan Williamson shows us that much of the best writing of the past twenty-five years is about the sense of being or having a self, a knowable personal identity. The difficulties posed by this subject help explain the fertility of contemporary poetic experiment-from the jaggedness of the later work of Robert Lowell to the montage-like methods of John Ashbery, from the visual surrealism of James Wright and W. S. Merwin to the radical plainness of Frank Bidart. Williamson examines these and other poets from a psychological perspective, giving an especially striking reading of Sylvia Plath.

About the Author

Alan Williamson, Professor of English, University of California, Davis, is a poet whose work has appeared in the New Yorker, New Republic, Partisan Review and other publications; a collection of his poems, Presence was recently published. He is also the author of Pity the Monsters: The Political Vision of Robert Lowell.
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