"Notations of process of mind" in American poetry since 1945: Readings in Creeley, Whalen, Kerouac, and Ginsberg.

Title: "Notations of process of mind" in American poetry since 1945: Readings in Creeley, Whalen, Kerouac, and Ginsberg.
Authors: Rupert, John.
Date: 1997
Abstract: This thesis examines the pursuit of forms derived from personal experience in (late-) modern American poetry, with a focus on four significant writers of the 1950s: Robert Creeley, Philip Whalen, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg. The study begins with a brief overview of the theories that most profoundly influenced these writers: Ezra Pound's Imagism, William Carlos Williams' "Relative Measure," and Charles Olson's "Projective Verse." This overview raises a central issue in American letters, a belief first expressed by Emerson, in "The Poet," that inherited formulations cannot adequately reflect or represent the truly indigenous writer's experiencing of a living world. Pound, Williams, and Olson all experimented with open forms in an effort to document experience in its original energy. For the late-modern writers that centre this study, though, Paterson figures as the defining example of such experimentation, and provides a paradigm of the American poet's struggle to break free from the trammels of received, standard forms. A close study of this text reveals something of the aesthetic problems that the authentically American poet must overcome in order to make form new, the chief of these problems being the necessity to determine the place of tradition in contemporary writing. Readings in the four principal poets of immediate concern follow the commentary on Paterson. Each individual reading begins with an exploration of the author's poetics, indicating substantial connections with the theories of his main mentors or predecessors. Each of Creeley, Whalen, Kerouac, and Ginsberg has explicitly affirmed his belief that poetic form must not be preselected or predetermined, but shaped by the act of composition itself, from the needs of the poem at hand. A demonstration of the poet's theory-in-practice then follows, in the form of a close reading of a representative text from each author's production: Creeley's Hello: A Journal, February 29-May 3, 1976, Whalen's Scenes of Life at the Capital, Kerouac's San Francisco Blues, and Ginsberg's The Fall of America. As the postscript of this study indicates, the authors of these texts represent but a few of the participants in this major trend in American writing during the past fifty years. A brief overview of the theories, and some of the practice, of Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Robert Duncan, Gary Snyder, and Amiri Baraka shows that Williams, Pound, and Olson influenced many contemporary American poets, and that this preference for personal forms is not isolated to a few of the perhaps more widely-recognized figures of twentieth-century American literature.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/4335
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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