The History of the Poetic Career
This introductory chapter discusses the unique trajectories of poetic careers throughout contemporary history. It briefly follows the twentieth-century poets discussed in this volume in engaging career from a variety of angles. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu's influential sociology of cultural production, this chapter takes as a basic premise the idea that poets' trajectories generally lead across the field of production from a dominated position to a dominant one through the accumulation of recognition in the forms of publications, honors, and profits. This gradually intensifying alignment with the establishment comes at a cost, and a particularly significant one for poets, insofar as poetry defines “the most perfectly autonomous sector of the field of cultural production.”
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