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By Angus Fletcher

Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the loss of life of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a sensible and committed literary voice, sounds a be aware 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 might resonate good into the hot century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the chuffed or rebellious childrens of ecu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a unique lineage for American poetry. His aspect of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the substantially American imaginative and prescient expressed by means of Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this publication insists that "the complete conception and nature of poetry" wishes thought from technology whether it is to accomplish a really democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity conception and on basics of artwork and grammar, Fletcher argues that our best poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in goal, permitting poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. extreme, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics indicates how ultra-modern 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, better human capacities. Poetry, the writer keeps, is crucial to any coherent imaginative and prescient of existence. (20040125)

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

Sample text

3 Description Description appears to be the humblest of intelligent symbolic acts, yet, because it is so common, its possible range eludes us. ” Immediately, this last etcetera grabs our attention; it is the key to our difficulty, since there may be an infinite number of characteristic features denoting any class, sort, or type of object to be described. This imagined plethora of features leads to another aspect of description, its sense of tracing, traversing, scribing a path or track.

Hirsch’s Wordsworth and Schelling (1960) and other, more recent researches, make one thing clear, that a sublime Platonism could never fully escape its occultist, hermetic, Behmian background. Romantic poetry may well support the “alternative tradition” described by Anthony Nuttall in his gnostic studies of Milton and Blake, and certainly arguments advanced by Harold Bloom have always caught the vision and tone of spiritual struggle in these authors. My sense, however, is that by widening our notions of the metaphysical, we will find that High Romantic poetry is not the only poetic approach to questions of sublime transcendence.

Continually changing its inscription of the full reach of what we can see, horizon fails of geometric elegance, remaining subject to all the changes of wind and weather and of changing terrain. Horizon is a function of all the obstacles to an observer’s line of sight, and hence only on the ocean or on great open plains does it appear to be an absolute geometrical limit. But even then it is always only a phenomenon of beckoning promise, reminding us that we are encircled by our own ignorance, even as we are protected by the circle of our tentative knowing.

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