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The Selected Letters

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Objectivist poet George Oppen (1908–1984), along with his contemporaries Lorine Niedecker, Charles Reznikoff, and Carl Rakoski, provide an important bridge between the vanguard modernist American poets and the later works of poets such as Robert Creeley. In work often compounded by the populist urbanity of city lives, the Objectivists explored the social statements poetry ...more
Paperback, 471 pages
Published July 20th 1990 by Duke University Press Books
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For long I thought Oppen's Selected Letters was the signal achievement in poetics in postwar American poetry. Recipients of Oppen's letters include a whole range of modernist and late modernist poets from Harvey Shapiro to Robert Duncan to Sharon Olds to friends like Charles Reznikoff and Louis Zukofsky. My review of these letters is in a Fall/Winter 1991 issue of The Black Warrior Review. Other Oppen books have since made good company for this one without ever having replaced it.
Al Filreis
A beautifully and thoughtfully edited collection of compelling letters written by a poet whose political commitments--and others matters--kept him from poetry for several decades. Some of these letters trace his return to poetry and his semi-disillusionment with partisan politics. No one knows Oppen better than Rachel Blau DuPlessis.
Had George Oppen been able to muster the ego to match his humanity, he would'v written an autobiography. And if our culture had the heart to match its wallet, we'd all read in school what he left instead, which is this book. You can buy it over the internet for between sixty and several-hundred bucks, or check it out through many fine inter-library loan programs, so thank god for that. Here, read this:

"I remember my father and my grandfather. I think of my daughter. I'm aware that the subways ar
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