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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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Language Poetry and Collective Life

Language Poetry and Collective Life

(p.138) Chapter Four Language Poetry and Collective Life
Being Numerous

Oren Izenberg

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the logic behind Bob Perelman's wish to produce an account of poetry as an enterprise deeply involved in manifesting the possibility of social life, or in producing confidence in the ground of social life. Focusing on Language poetry, the movement Perelman represents, the chapter discusses the disparity between imagined and actual forms of collectivity that arises from two contradictory commitments that Perelman's story allegorizes: a commitment to a radical concept of freedom on the one hand, and to a repressive hypothesis of cultural determinism on the other. It also analyzes the theory and practice of collaboration in the book Leningrad and relates it the account of the person implicit in the generative linguistics deplored by the Language poets. Finally, it considers how the Language poets' appeal to grammaticality regrounds personhood.

Keywords:   collectivity, Bob Perelman, Language poetry, freedom, cultural determinism, Leningrad, person, grammaticality, personhood, social life

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