signal comment that captures Europe's influence on 20th-century American poetry is Frank O'HARA's poignant observation: "My heart is in my / pocket, it is Poems by Pierre Reverdy" ("A Step Away from Them" ). While many 19th-century American poets looked across to Europe for culture, the extent to which their 20th-century counterparts were influenced by European poetry and poetics was more than significant. The intellectual and cultural ferment of Europe in the early 20th century sparked a revolution in American poetry that has continued to the present day. Movements such as symbolism (France), imagism and vorti-
cism (England), expressionism (Germany), futurism (Italy), cubo-futurism (Russia), dadaism (Switzerland), and surrealism (France) utterly changed the way American poets wrote and thought (see imagist school). And as the work of European poets continues to be translated, so do the ideas of such groundbreaking poets as Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Guillaume Apollinaire, Rainer Maria Rilke, Fil-ippo Tommaso Marinetti, Vladimir Mayakovksy, Velemir Khlebnikov, Anna Akhmatova, Tristan Tzara, and Federico García Lorca continue freshly to inspire.
"America is my country, and Paris is my home town," wrote Gertrude stein (61), who moved to Paris in 1903 and who was part of a huge migration of American writers who emigrated to Europe in the 1900s to 1920s. Stein was at the forefront of the burgeoning modernist sensibility and one of the first collectors of work by "new" painters, such as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso (see modernism). In her works, such as tender buttons (1914), she applied to her own writing many of the same Cubist techniques that Picasso was using in his art. However, when seeking the conduits through which the European revolution in thought and aesthetics found its way to American shores, American poet and editor Ezra pound may be the most important. With British poets T. E. Hulme, Richard Aldington, and F S. Flint and fellow American emigré H. D., inspired by the poetry of French symbolist poets Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Jules Laforgue (called "the father of free verse" [see prosody and free verse]), and Arthur Rimbaud, Pound introduced imagism in London in 1912. Imagism was the first movement to bring to American poets symbolist ideas about using new language, verse forms, and images to express the rapid changes of the "modern" world.
Symbolism became a major influence on many American poets, including T. S. eliot, who incorporated many symbolist ideas into his own poetry, particularly his epic poem, the waste land, as well as Hart crane, Wallace stevens, Allen ginsberg and other beat poets, and John ashbery, Kenneth koch, and O'Hara, members of the new york school. The poetry critic Marjorie Perloff feels that the "French connection" is the missing link in understanding the two primary strains of contemporary American poetry; she argues that American poetry stemmed from a divergence in thought between Eliot and Pound, influenced respectively by Mallarmé and Rimbaud (4).
"[I]magism all but fizzled out in England where in America it transformed itself to become a complex tradition of free verse that left few poets untouched," says Geoffrey Thurley (110). Because of some inherent problems in imagism, and perhaps because of its over-enthusiastic reception by American poets, such as Amy lowell, Pound abandoned it to found vorticism with British writer Wyndham Lewis. Vorticism demanded that poetic images be like vortexes—moving, swirling sources of energy. Pound himself was much like a vortex, through whom much European poetry was channelled to the United States and to American poets, such as Stevens, Marianne moore, and William Carlos WILLIAMS. Pound was the "foreign correspondent" for three of the most important poetry journals of the time, Poetry, the Dial, and the Little Review, and he became a primary supporter for European writers, such as William Butler Yeats and James Joyce.
Events such as the 1913 Armory Show in New York City, where Williams was among the crowds viewing avant-garde artwork by Marcel Duchamp, Henri Matisse, and Francis Picabia for the first time, also introduced modernist ideas to the United States. As Williams recalled later, "There had been a break somewhere, we were streaming through, each thinking his own thoughts, driving his own designs toward his self's objectives. Whether the Armory Show in painting did it or whether that also was no more than a facet—the poetic line, the way the image was to lie on the page was our immediate concern" (138).
More radical movements, such as dadaism and futurism, which occurred between the two world wars, were to have a more delayed influence on American poetry. Futurism, an early movement founded by Filippo Iom-maco Marinetti in Italy in 1909, inspired many other literary movements in Europe. However, his writings were not translated until recently—this may be due to futurism's disturbing links to war and nationalism. Futurism's indirect contributions to American poetry are nevertheless undeniable, despite Marinetti's seeming eclipse by more lyrical Italian writers widely translated in the 1950s, such as Giuseppe Ungaretti, Salvatore Quasimodo, and Eugenio Montale.
Cubo-futurism in Russia is another movement more recently discovered by American poets. The cubo-futurists abandoned traditional metrical structures in favor of new rhythms and powerful new images, and presented the poet as a revolutionary figure. Mayakovsky, who inspired Ginsberg, is the best known; however, Khlebnikov was the primary innovator of the cubo-futurists, and his ideas were important in the development of postmodern poetry and its nonlinear, dissociative qualities. Perloff maintains that Khlebnikov, because of his many innovations in poetry, is a major influence on "an important thread of twentieth-century poetry from Russian Futurism and Dada to Aimé Césaire and [Edmund] Kamau braithwaite, to Mac Wellman and Steve McCaffery, Susan HOWE and Maggie O'Sullivan" (126). One of Khlebnikov's important innovations was the idea of zaum, "a poetic language beyond (za) mind or reason (um)," achieved through intense wordplay and multidimensional, nonsequential language (Perloff 123).
Interestingly the irreverent and iconoclastic movement of dadaism, founded in Zurich in 1916 by Tristan Tzara, had a protomanifestation in New York City. Alfred Stieglitz published work by what became the "New York dada" group—Man Ray, Picabia, Djuna Barnes, Marsden Hartley, Marius de Zayas, and others—in a literary journal titled 291. "291 was in a sense the prototypical Dada journal, except, of course, that Dada did not yet exist," write Guy Bennett and Béatrice Mousli (31). Picabia started his own journal, titled 391, whose list of contributors "reads like a who's who of the early 20th century avant-garde," explain Bennett and Mousli (33), including Apollinaire, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Robert Desnos, Duchamp, Paul Éluard, Max Jacob, Man Ray, René Magritte, Pound, Eric Satie, Tzara, and others. The only American journal officially affiliated with dadaism, titled New York Dada, was edited by Ray and Duchamp in 1921. However, it was not until the 1960s that dadaism found a more receptive audience. The Beat poets, John cage, and Jackson mac low used dada's tools of collage, discontinuity, and chance, while poets associated with the New York school created delicious juxtapositions between lowbrow elements of culture, such as comic books, with traditional poetic forms, such as the sestina.
Surrealism reached an even wider audience, and, in fact, it is difficult to find a postwar American poet who does not show at least some awareness of it. Surrealist poets, such as Breton, Desnos, and Éluard, abandoned established rules of poetry and prose to create new images and associations, advancing the primacy of the imagination. The surrealist writer was a spiritual explorer—process was more important than product. "Thus while rejecting, as vehemently as the Dadaists, all fixed categories, dogma (including revolutionary dogma), and rationalizations that threatened to impoverish man and diminish the options open to him, the Surrealist is confident in the capacity of the mind to sustain itself in the midst of chaos," claims Robert Short (302). These ideas proved irresistible to many American poets, particularly the Beats, who adapted the surrealist technique of "automatic writing" into their own "spontaneous prose."
Ashbery, Koch, and O'Hara together revitalized interest in European writing at a time when the United States was experiencing postwar isolation, and Ashbery, who lived in Paris in the 1950s and 1960s, was particularly diligent in reviving neglected European writers, such as Raymond Roussel, Max Jacob, and Reverdy. Their timely reintroductions paved the way for younger American poets to continue translating important works, such as Apollinaire's poem "Zone," which was retranslated by Ron padgett in the 1970s. Says Ginsberg, who wrote a homage to one of his favorite poets, entitled "At Apolli-naire's Grave": "The point of the Apollinaire poem was to show my literary antecedents with the hope that others would go out and read them. . . . Everybody said, 'Oh, Ginsberg is imitating [Kenneth] patchen and Carl sandburg.' There was no notion at all of the European tradition. The montage, free association, nonpunctuated Zone style that I used in that poem was largely missed" (qtd. in Sawyer-Lauçanno 265). In 1992 Padgett published the complete poems of Swiss poet Blaise Cendrars, whom he had been translating for decades. Harry Mathews, a close friend of Ashberys, became closely involved with the European group of Oulipo, whose complicated, rigorous, and playful forms inspired many contemporary writers to explore new techniques (see cyberpoetry).
There are many poets who were not part of any major literary movement and who were "discovered" by individual American poets. Many poets translated their findings themselves, and some European poets who had emigrated to the united States became translators of their native language (see poetry translation). The German poet Rainer Maria Rilke's gravity and meditative qualities were particularly seductive to American poet-translators of a certain generation, such as ROBERT lowell, Randall jarrell, and Robert bly (Heep 4). Langston hughes and W S. merwin both translated Lorca, whose tragic death captured many poets' interest. George economou, merrill, Robert pinsky, and W H. auden all translated the Greek poet C. P Cavafy, and Muriel ruykeyser translated the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelof. Some poetic translation relationships include ROSMARIE WALDROP and Edmond Jabès, Clayton eshleman and Antonin Artaud, Paul blackburn and Lorca, and Robert hass and Czeslaw Milosz. Joseph brodsky, born in Leningrad in 1940, was exiled in 1972 after serving in a labor camp. Brodsky then emigrated to the united States, where he worked to make poetry more central to American culture, even serving as poet laureate from 1991 to 1992. Jerome rothenberg continues to produce multinational anthologies containing overlooked work by poets, such as Kurt Schwitters (see ethnopoetics). Charles simic, born in Yugoslavia, has translated Yugoslav poets, such as Vasko Popa, and Anselm hollo, born in Finland, translates Finnish poets Paavo Haavikko and Pentti Saarikoski.
The list of American poets who traveled across the Atlantic to visit or live in Europe—from Stein, Pound, H. D., Eliot, Crane, Cummings, Hughes, Countee cullen, Claude mckay, Ashbery, Koch, Mathews, Padgett, Alice notley, and others—is as impressive as European poets who have traveled the reverse route. American poetry can identify many of its roots in what is not American, just as American identity itself consists of different, but essential "foreign" influences. To explore this hidden debt that American poetry owes to European poets is to continue to revitalize our own language.
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