Active Romanticism: The Radical Impulse in

Literary heritage often locates the first flow towards poetic innovation in twentieth-century modernism, an impulse performed opposed to a supposedly enervated “late-Romantic” poetry of the 19th century. the unique essays in energetic Romanticism problem this interpretation through tracing the basic continuities among Romanticism’s poetic and political radicalism and the experimental hobbies in poetry from the late-nineteenth-century to the current day.

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Extra info for Active Romanticism: The Radical Impulse in Nineteenth-Century and Contemporary Poetic Practice (Modern & Contemporary Poetics)

Example text

Rothenberg and Robinson 160–81, 898). A poem begins in a tranquility its own work ends; it begins in an absence whose end is presence—but here no presence is pure. It is a presence complicated by the fact of itself. The poet places herself in this crisis of herself, a crisis the poem actualizes, conjures into a world, makes real even as it undermines its own reality. This labyrinth-­self, this riddle-­I, is curious prologue to the difficulty of representation, in which the certainty of self is transformed into uncertainty so that the world can be real and simultaneously questionable in its reality.

It is a wretched thing to confess; but is a very fact that not one word I ever utter can be taken for granted as an opinion growing 38 Dan Beachy-Quick out of my identical nature—how can it, when I have no nature? When I am in a room with People if I ever am free from speculating on creations of my own brain, then not myself goes home to myself: but the identity of every one in the room begins so to press upon me that I am in a very little time annihilated—not only among Men; it would be the same in a Nursery of children.

What do we carry—and what carries us off? With what meaning-­makers do we collaborate? Even as poems take on a life beyond the poet, the poet is implicated in the messages the poem carries. Language leads into a place of extremity that offers no assurances of resolution: “Let me just say that I’m hanging from this screen into an icy darkness” (48). If a formal awareness of address is built in to lyric poetry, shouldn’t the poet be called into question as much as anyone else? ” the poem asks (49).

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