Ronald Johnson’s Modernist Collage Poetry (Modern and by R. Hair

By R. Hair

Using a serious exam of the university poetics of Ronald Johnson, this ebook units out to appreciate Johnson's poetry within the context of the "New American" university culture, stretching from Ezra Pound to Louis Zukofsky and past. also, the booklet assesses Johnson's paintings relating to wider questions touching on literary chronologies, specially the discontinuities more often than not obvious to exist among nineteenth-century Romantic and twentieth-century modernist literary varieties.

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Whereas Johnson was essentially naïve when he wrote his “newspaper poems,” by the time he writes ARK he is at the height of his powers, thoroughly schooled in the work of his modernist masters: Pound, Williams, Moore, Olson, and Zukofsky. ” In this faux-naïf bricolage poetics we find the culmination of Johnson’s longstanding exploration of “innocent” or “naïve” vision. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromso - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-13 “Congeries of Word and Light” ● Ronald Johnson’s Modernist Collage Poetry taking it at face value as valuable building material for his own literary edifice, ARK.

Where Olson’s lines often seem feral, Johnson’s establish, as he writes in “Shake, Quoth the Dove House,” “clear space // to cultivate // the wild, Espaliered, Tangled, / Clipped // estate” (V 18). It is not only form that distinguishes Johnson’s work from Olson’s but also the subjects that Johnson engages, particularly in “The Garden” section of A Line of Poetry. Johnson’s interest in the British visionary landscape painter Samuel Palmer in “Samuel Palmer: The Characters of Fire,” or his use of Alexander Pope and Joseph Addison’s writings on garden aesthetics in “Shake, Quoth the Dove House,” are a far cry from Olson’s subjects.

The implications of this re-mapping can be explained with the examples of Zukofsky and Language poetry, the critical success of which is partly due to its strong group identity. As the dominant voice in American avantgarde poetry throughout the 1970s and 1980s and in establishing a strong profile in academia in the 1990s, Zukofsky’s work has tended to be read and assessed through the lens of Language poetry. 48 In 1978 serious claims were being made as to the true inheritors of Zukofsky when Robert Duncan and Barrett Watten came to heads after the screening of Richard Moore’s documentary film on Zukofsky at the San Francisco Art Institute.

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