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History of American Poetry

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Emily Pascale

on 28 May 2014

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Transcript of History of American Poetry

History of American Poetry
Colonial Poetry
Style of Poetry
Resembled British models and form
Development of poetry mirrored the development of the colonies themselves
Mode of writing was conservative
Postcolonial Poetry

Modernist Period
Post World War II
Poetry Today
Poetry in America has been a reflection of the social currents and influences that have run throughout the history of the United States.
Significant Poets
Phillis Wheatley
Brought from Africa as a slave
America's first significant black poet (2nd published)
Anne Bradstreet
First poet and female writer in British North American colonies to be published
Most famous work was "The Tenth Muse"
Thomas Morton
Early American colonist and founder of the colony of Merrymouth
America's first poet in English
Style of Poetry
Poets wanted to distinguish themselves from their British counterparts
Transcendentalism-American strain of English Romanticism
Significant Poets
Edgar Allan Poe
The most recognized poet internationally at the time
Was a writer of Gothic fiction
Most famous poem- "The Raven"
Final emergence of truly English language poetry:
Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson
Walt Whitman
Often called the father of free verse poetry
Part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism
"Leaves of Grass" was argued the most revolutionary volume of poetry in American history
Emily Dickinson
Was a private poet- her whole body of work was not published until 1955
Many of her poems explored the interior life and subjects like pain, death, immortality, nature and love
Was the richest time in American poetic history
Style of Poetry
Rejection of traditional poetic form
Had more diverse influences
Poets experimented with new techniques of writing
Significant Poets
Ezra Pound
Leading figure of early modernist movement and helped develop Imagism
Did not use symbolism and wanted an objective presentation of his material
T.S. Eliot
Was considered a pioneer contributor to present day poetry
Recieved the nobel peace prize
Famously wrote "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Robert Frost
One of the most popular and respected American poets in the 20th century
Focused on rural life and a wide range of human experiences in his poems
Insisted on traditional metrics
Both the Imagist Movement and Harlem Renaissance
had important implications on poetry in this time period
Style of Poetry
Academic poetry dominated
Return to traditional forms- poets were more cautious and conservative
Poetic Movements
Confessional Movement- exploring own experiences as subject matter
Beat poets were more raw and reflective, pushed boundaries
Black Mountain Poets explored the possibilities of an open form
Until a number of poetic movements occurred...
Significant Poets
Elizabeth Bishop
In contrast to proceeding generation wrote in traditional form
Robert Lowell
Important part of the Confessional Movement
Wrote with a style he referred to as "cooked"-consciously and carefully crafted
Sylvia Plath
Credited with advancing confessional poetry
Committed suicide at the age of 30
Wrote about highly personal matters
Poetic Movements
1. In late 1960’s and 70’s a Black Arts movement developed utilizing African American culture and language
2. Last 2 decades saw a revival of Beat poetry- poetry slams led to rap today
3. Poetry has become a significant presence on the web in the 2000’s

Style of Poetry
1970’s saw a revival of interest in surrealism-performance poetry and talk poems (hippies)
1980’s and 90’s saw a rise in women’s poetry, language poetry, and new formalism-return to traditional form (conservative politics)
3. Emergence of multicultural poetry
Global events like 911 have had great influence on public’s attention to poetry
In general, poetry in contemporary era has moved out of the mainstream and onto college and university campus
Analysis (Summary)
Emily Dickinson and Gwendolyn Brooks were the “mothers” for female poetry in America.
Politics had an influence on the style of poetry, like Ronald Reagan’s conservative policies leading to a reemerging influence of traditional forms as well as poems about the civil and world wars.
Poetry has been an outlet for political and social injustices.
Much of the African American poetry has been a reflection of their place is society.
Poetry has had important implications for the rap music that we know today.
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