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Essays on Modern American Literature
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Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

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Frank O’Hara
David Herd

5 Circulating: Frank O'Hara The day Frank O’Hara died, following an accident on Fire Island – he was struck by a beach buggy early in the morning of 24 July, 1966 – ‘the New York art world was,’ as Peter Schjeldahl has said, ‘collectively thunderstruck. In 1 years as a poet, playwright, critic, curator, and universal energy source in the lives of the few hundred most creative people in America, Frank O’Hara had rendered that whole world unprepared to tolerate his passing.’1 ‘A center,’ as the painter John Button put it, registering the magnitude of the shock

in Enthusiast!
Pragmatic perspectives on Frank O’Hara and Norman Bluhm’s Poem-Paintings
Catherine Gander

‘Twenty-six things at once’: pragmatic perspectives on Frank O’Hara and Norman Bluhm’s Poem-Paintings Catherine Gander This essay attends to the creative collaboration between the poet Frank O’Hara and the painter Norman Bluhm in the autumn of 1960 that resulted in the set of artworks entitled Poem-Paintings. By exploring these multivalent works through  an equally pluralistic and interdisciplinary approach, it argues their importance as experiments in an American tradition of innovation and aesthetic experience. Mapping a critical path that moves across areas of

in Mixed messages
Charles Bernstein

another approach, one that doesn’t follow the leader but the lieder. Guy Davenport calls the poem as a whole an ideogram, marking its unmistakable, and not entirely happy, Poundian lineage. The poem is weighted/freighted by those Poundian need-toknow (or do you?) uncited references, as for example the appropriations from Prescott’s History of the Conquest of Mexico (‘the priests … rush in among the people,’ ‘of green feathers feet, beaks and eyes / of gold’) (CP, 89, 88). And at or near the centre, ‘I thought of the E on the stone’. This is not Frank O’Hara referring

in Contemporary Olson
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Enthusiasm and audit
David Herd

scene, deeply despondent at the reception and commercial failure of Moby-Dick. Pound’s cultural enthusiasm distorted into zealous anti-Semitism. Frank O’Hara died at the age of forty, in a state, so some have argued, of literary exhaustion. James Schuyler was periodically hospitalized throughout his life. Emerson had anticipated this. ‘What is a man good for,’ he asked ‘without enthusiasm? and what is enthusiasm without this daring of ruin for its object?’ What he understood was that, difficult as it can be to sustain, and whether at the time people like it or not

in Enthusiast!
Open Access (free)
A short essay on enthusia
David Herd

Emerson wrote Nature, his aim and achievement was to inject enthusiasm into American literature, is to draw on each of these definitions. It is to identify in Emerson, and in his legacy to Modern American writing, a sense, carried through from the Greek, that in the act of composition words enter writing which have to be understood as coming from elsewhere. It is also to identify the thought in Emerson, and this is especially crucial to the particular writers discussed in this book-Thoreau, Melville, Pound, Marianne Moore, Frank O’Hara and James Schuyler — that in the

in Enthusiast!
Des O’Rawe

, poetry often figured in Burckhardt’s visual art, especially the poets of the New York School, and his films conversed regularly with work from the 1950s and 1960s by John Ashbery, James Schuyler, Kenneth Koch, Barbara Guest, and Frank O’Hara. As well as making films either explicitly inspired by their poetry, or including poems read by the poets themselves, he also photographed artists­– ­such as Jackson Pollock, Joan Mitchell, and Willem and Elaine de Kooning­– f­or galleries and magazines, and worked closely with composers like Aaron Copland, Virgil Thompson, and

in Regarding the real
From Pound to Prynne
Author:

The book begins by attempting to define the theoretical and ideological factors contributing to what the author calls 'late modernism' (schematically, occupying the period 1945-1975). It sets out the historical bases of my argument, and reexamines Pound's use of hermetic sources in the light of recent scholarship on the modernist occult. The hermetic in poetry is generally associated with forms of modernist writing deriving from romantic and symbolist models. The book focuses on Prynne's use of the shaman as a figure mediating between crude archetypal theories of the historical subject and a sophisticated temporal dialectic. It explores Heidegger's influence on late modernist poetics in more detail. Heidegger is a highly problematic figure in modern critical theory because he is at once the modernist thinker par excellence and the architect of postmodernism. The book provides an account of late modernism's revision of the fundamental romantic and modernist tropes of obscurity and fragmentation. It theorises the dialectical grounds of the relationship between hermetic poetry and philosophical commentary. The survival of romantic aesthetics in modernism is considered, leading into preliminary remarks on the deconstruction of the romantic fragment and Heidegger's theory of the Unheimliche. The questions of identity and dispersal, meaning and non-meaning, return to the uncanny by way of the Lacanian problematic of translation and the dream-work, involving the position of the subject called' by the otherness of the obscure text.

Abstract only
To fasten words again to visible – and invisible – things
Catherine Gander
and
Sarah Garland

typography alongside an analysis of Spero’s polemical use of historic quotation to draw out affective resonances of texts treated as and with images. Weingarden’s essay on modernist architect Louis Sullivan’s metaphysical borrowings from Whitman and Emerson, Katy Masuga’s essay on Brian Dettmer’s altered books, Catherine Gander’s essay on the ‘conversational’ poem-paintings of Frank O’Hara and Norman Bluhm, and Garland’s essay on Arakawa and Gins’s installation practices, all consider the relationship between ideas as they are captured in books as sign systems and ideas as

in Mixed messages
Abstract only
A reading of Charles Olson’s ‘The Lordly and Isolate Satyrs’
Stephen Fredman

defended one another. From a sociological perspective – one prompted by attention to the mix of American poets and artists in early issues of Evergreen Review – it would be possible to apply a single capacious label to the poets in the Allen anthology: Beat. No matter how vociferously Olson or Robert Duncan or Frank O’Hara might seek at times to distance themselves from avowed Beats such as Ginsberg or Kerouac or Gregory Corso, they all participate in what Rexroth calls the ‘revolt’ against and ‘disaffiliation’ with dominant social, political, and sexual mores and, as

in Contemporary Olson