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Being NumerousPoetry and the Ground of Social Life$
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Oren Izenberg

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691144832

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691144832.001.0001

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Poems, Poetry, Personhood

Poems, Poetry, Personhood

(p.1) Introduction Poems, Poetry, Personhood
Being Numerous

Oren Izenberg

Princeton University Press

This book explores a set of interdependent problems in the history, theory, and politics of recent Anglo-American poetry while offering a challenge and an alternative to a nearly unanimous literary–historical consensus that divides poetry into two warring camps—post-Romantic and postmodern; symbolist and constructivist; traditionalist and avant-garde. The book advocates a shift of emphasis, from “poems” as objects or occasions for experience to “poetry” as an occasion for reestablishing or revealing the most basic unit of social life and for securing the most fundamental object of moral regard. The book considers Language poetry as well as the work of William Butler Yeats, George Oppen, and Frank O'Hara—poets who seek ways to make their poetic thinking yield accounts of personhood that are at once minimal and universal.

Keywords:   poetry, poem, social life, Language poetry, William Butler Yeats, George Oppen, Frank O'Hara, poet, personhood, Anglo-American poetry

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