Pablo Neruda, César Vallejo, Antonio Machado, and Lorca, many of whom Bly translated for publication.
As part of its psychologized interest in the mind, deep image poetry was heavily influenced by foreign thinkers, writers, and spiritualists. Rather than trace its genealogy from contemporary English poetry, it saw itself as an inheritor of poetic/prophetic practice that, as has been mentioned, it shared with contemporary surrealist poets in French and Spanish and that stretched back through Martin Buber and Jung to visionaries like Blake and Jacob Boehme. This was a positive decision in favor of writers whose subjects and tone were more appealing, but it was also part of a rebellion against the strictures of New Criticism (see fugitive/agrarian school) and its accompanying poetry.
Bly rebelled not only against established ideas of poetry but also against establishment politics. He wrote exuberant poems whose images leapt from personal psychology to the national psyche to global events. initially these were humorous—such as when he describes how he had behaved when he was president: crushing snails barefoot, sleeping in his underwear, eating Cubans with a straw ("Three Presidents" ). increasingly, however, as with many deep image poets, his poems became infused with a bitterness about the involvement of the united States in Vietnam.
Among other poems from Bly's The Light around the Body (1967), both "At a March Against the Vietnam War" (23) and "Driving through Minnesota During the Hanoi Bombings" (27) trace the movement of the image from the internal world to the domestic political world to global consequences. In "At a March" the speaker's personal vision of feet moving turns into a collective burden—a "cup of darkness" inherited from the Puritans, "As they went out to kill turkeys." Inexorably the same feet carry the reader to the time when, using the "cup of darkness," the same collective makes war, "Like a man anointing himself." "Driving" also traces the connections between a Minnesota summer and the Hanoi bombings. The ramifications of parties in Minnesota are felt as hangovers that end up "in Asia." Self-disgust mixes with self-love in America so that although "We were the ones we intended to bomb!" an inexorable chain of events and images means that it is the "small rice-fed ones" who suffer.
The deep image movement was roughly contemporary with the war in vietnam and became caught up in many aspects of it. The protests and social changes around the end of the vietnam War had transformed the practice of the leading deep image writers in ways that varied from one to the other. As these originators moved on to follow their own diverging stylistic and political paths, derivative poets and poetry were left to carry on deep image poetry. With the ending of the war, a new paradigm was needed for American society and its poetry; although Haskell could still write of it in the present tense in 1979, deep image poetry had already ended by then as a viable movement.
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