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The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage
In her seminal study, first published in 1981, Marjorie Perloff argues that the map of Modernist poetry needs to be redrawn to include a central tradition which cannot properly be situated within the Romantic-Symbolist tradition dominating the early twentieth century.
Paperback, 346 pages
Published December 25th 1999 by Northwestern University Press
(first published March 1st 1981)
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Suddenly the real history of poetry! Perloff is so kind and considerate to give a language to the style Ashbery uses (oh sure and Beckett and Williams and Stein)--a language I've found it hard to access when trying to describe it to others. But most of all, she is the Incredible Hulk in bringing to light systems of image and that self-referencing they do in all these writers. Oh, OH!
A very good introduction to twentieth-century avant-garde poetry. I found the chapters on Stein and Pound particularly useful, though Perloff's readings start to feel redundant after a few chapters. Still, her argument that there is a Rimbaudian poetic tradition running alongside the modernist post-Symbolist poetic tradition is persuasive.