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By Angus Fletcher

Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the arts and the dying of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a smart and committed literary voice, sounds a notice of strong, tempered optimism. He lays out a clean method of American poetry at huge, the 1st in numerous a long time, expounding a protection of the artwork that would resonate good into the hot century. Breaking with the drained behavior of treating American poets because the satisfied or rebellious youngsters of eu romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a different lineage for American poetry. His element of departure is the attention-grabbing English author, John Clare; he then facilities at the appreciably American imaginative and prescient expressed through Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this e-book insists that "the entire conception and nature of poetry" wishes idea from technological know-how whether it is to accomplish a really democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity concept and on basics of artwork and grammar, Fletcher argues that our most interesting poetry is nature-based, environmentally formed, and descriptive in target, permitting poets like John Ashbery and different contemporaries to find a mysterious pragmatism. severe, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics exhibits how cutting-edge consumerist and conformist tradition subverts the mind's eye of a loose humans. whereas centering on American imaginative and prescient, the argument extends our horizon, extraordinary a blow opposed to all economically sanctioned assaults upon the finer, superior human capacities. Poetry, the writer keeps, is important to any coherent imaginative and prescient of existence. (20040125)

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Additional info for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination

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One crosses the brink of common sense into philosophy by desiring, wondering, framing the wonder in questions, asking the questions, and asking what the consequences of various sorts of answering might be. ”9 Poet as Presocratic In our present discussion the Ideas powerfully work to prescribe the outlines of significant things, whereas in a Presocratic view, which lives more directly in a world of immediate responses to the The Argument of Form  cosmos and to the immediate environment, an opposite effect occurs.

A question leading to the deeper meaning of description. For description is the expressive mode that works in time, as poets seek to speak in time. Poets cannot accept the ideality of Plato’s timeless formulations, because these would abrogate death, change, and our becoming undistinguished atoms of momentary existence. Poets confront death, they celebrate life, and hence are forced into an imaginative method of refusing final truths and prescriptions. ” In describing, poets never begin by saying: this is how the world must or should be.

The role of description seems inherently unclear, as if its language-game needed room to breathe. This lack of clarity appears early in the West, where philosophy begins with the Presocratics, who, as W. K. C. 3 When Anaximander calls our cosmic origin “the unlimited,” or Anaximenes identifies this arche with air, or Thales with water, and so on, they are all claiming that descriptions of the world and of the foundations of knowledge would have to begin from these elemental claims. But while theirs are inspired notions of environment, they remain primitive, far from subdividing knowledge into dimensions that could be counted and mathematized.

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