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By Angus Fletcher

Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the dying of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a smart and committed literary voice, sounds a word of robust, tempered optimism. He lays out a clean method of American poetry at huge, the 1st in different many years, expounding a security of the paintings that may resonate good into the hot century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the chuffed or rebellious youngsters of eu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a special lineage for American poetry. His aspect of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the significantly American imaginative and prescient expressed through Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this booklet insists that "the entire idea and nature of poetry" wishes thought from technology whether it is to accomplish a very democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity concept and on basics of artwork and grammar, Fletcher argues that our best 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, extraordinary a blow opposed to all economically sanctioned assaults upon the finer, more suitable human capacities. Poetry, the writer continues, is critical 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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Thomson himself in later editions made changes of wording so as to suggest emotional or moral atmospheres rather than the cultural atmosphere of scientific observation. As he revised, he felt almost obliged to leave aside his interest in meteorology or Newtonian notions of the optics of light. A serious artistic question arose: could scientific statements and scientific styles provide the vivid The Argument of Form  and catching aesthetic powers of literary art? It was an issue to be decided finally only in practice, with poets like Wordsworth and John Clare at the end of the Enlightenment period, as to whether description could be at once both truthful and exciting.

The earlier notion of “natural history” suggests that in its environmental origin this relation mixed fact and story, as it mixed our human history with the externals of the evolution of natural forms (in Darwin’s manner). It is mainly to address this fifth relationship that this book has been written, for numerous consequences flow from questioning the relation between description and environment. For example, in Shelley’s “Ode to the West Wind,” one can ask whether the “solid atmosphere” of the approaching storm (Section II) is to be understood simultaneously as an epithet for a mental event, and an impression of the darkness of the storm, the latter being an entirely natural phenomenon.

This was always made on foot, he and his sister Dorothy vigorously clambering about on the damp hillsides of the Lake Country, an activity paralleled on roads and pathways during the 1791 continental walking tour. Walking, prose, and verse come together. In American natural history, the greatest walker and perhaps the greatest poet among prose writers is not Emerson, nor perhaps even William Bartram in Florida, but Thoreau. ”4 In “Autumnal Hints” he states the principles of what I shall be calling description: “Objects are concealed from our view, not so much because they are out of the course of our visual ray as because we do not bring our minds and eyes to bear on them; for there is no power to see in the eye itself, any more than in any other jelly.

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