Thematic and Historical Studies Ranging across Periods
Mutlu Konuk Blasing, American Poetry: The Rhetoric of its Forms (New Haven, 1987). Takes issue with the notion of Emerson as the main precursor of modern American poetry, seeing Poe, Emerson, Whitman, and Dickinson as each serving an important role.
David Bromwich, Skeptical Music: Essays on Modern Poetry (Chicago, 2001). Perceptive essays ranging from Frost and Stevens to Rich and Ashbery.
Juliana Chang, ed., Quiet Fire: A Historical Anthology of Asian American Poetry, 18921970 (New York, 1996). Representative poems from important figures and helpful essays make this volume a valuable survey.
Robert Crawford, The Modern Poet: Poetry, Academia, and Knowledge since the 1750s (Oxford, 2001). Argues that the course of modern poetry and the development of modern academia are closely entwined.
Stephen Cushman, Fictions of Form in American Poetry (Princeton, 1993). Argues for the relationship of ideas about America to the forms of its poetry, treating Dickinson, Pound, Bishop, and Ammons.
Margaret Dickie and Thomas Travisano, eds., Gendered Modernisms: American Women Poets and their Readers (Philadelphia, 1996). Essays re-examine the work of eight poets, including H.D., Moore, Bishop, Rukeyser, and Brooks.
Denis Donoghue, Connoisseurs of Chaos: Ideas of Order in Modern American Poetry (New York, 1984). This second edition of an important book adds a chapter on Bishop.
Betsy Erkkila, The Wicked Sisters: Women Poets, Literary History and Discord (Oxford, 1992). Examines the lives and works of Dickinson, Moore, Bishop, Rich, and Brooks.
Roger Gilbert, Walks in the World: Representation and Experience in Modern American Poetry (Princeton, 1991). A well-argued study of the genre of the "walk poem" as a way of representing immediate experience, covers a number of major figures.
Ian Hamilton, ed., The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English (Oxford, 1994). A very useful reference guide.
Kenneth Lincoln, Sing with the Heart of a Bear: Fusions of Native and American Poetry, 1890-1999 (Berkeley, 2000). A well-written account that integrates Native American voices with mainstream Anglo-American poetry.
Robert K. Martin, The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry (1979; expanded edn. Iowa City, 1998). Argues for a homosexual tradition in American poetry. Begins with Whitman; later poets discussed include Crane, Ginsberg, Duncan, Merrill, and Gunn.
James E. Miller, The American Quest for a Supreme Fiction (Chicago, 1979). Takes Whitman as the starting point for a discussion of a number of major long poems.
Aldon Lynn Nielsen, ed., Reading Race in American Poetry: "An Area of Act" (Urbana, IL, 2000). Essays by a number of scholars, some on often overlooked figures.
Roy Harvey Pearce, The Continuity of American Poetry (Princeton, 1961). An early and still useful attempt to place modern American poetry into a history going back to the Puritans.
David Perkins, A History of Modern Poetry, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA, 1976, 1987). Although now somewhat dated, a well-integrated overview of the major currents in British and American poetry.
Marjorie Perloff, The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (Princeton, 1981). Argues for the importance of modern and contemporary poets writing outside of the Romantic/symbolist tradition.
Neil Roberts, ed., A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry (Oxford, 2001). Essays on British, American, and Colonial poetry, organized by topics, movements, and texts.
M. L. Rosenthal and Sally M. Gall, The Modern Poetic Sequence: The Genius of Modern Poetry (New York, 1983). A broad-ranging study of British and American long poems and poetic sequences.
Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris, Poems for the Millennium: The University of California Book of Modern and Postmodern Poetry, 2 vols. (Berkeley, 1995, 1998). An ambitious attempt to document the cultural history of modern, not just US, poetry.
Louis D. Rubin, The Wary Fugitives: Four Poets and the South (Baton Rouge, 1978). Examines the careers of Ransom, Tate, Davidson, and Warren.
Mark Royden Winchell, Cleanth Brooks and the Rise of Modern Criticism (Charlottesville, 1996). The first extended biography of Brooks, a leading New Critic. Documents the impact of New Criticism upon twentieth-century American poetry, and Brooks's association with such figures as Warren, Tate, and Ransom.
Gregory Woods, Articulate Flesh: Male Homo-Eroticism and Modern Poetry (New Haven, 1987). Looks at homo-erotic themes in the work of D. H. Lawrence, Crane, Auden, Ginsberg, and Gunn.
Studies Focused upon Modernism and Other Movements, 1900 to the
Charles Altieri, Painterly Abstraction in Modernist American Poetry (Cambridge, 1989). A difficult but important study of modernist poetry and the visual arts.
Houston A. Baker, Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance (Chicago, 1987). A groundbreaking discussion looking at the Harlem Renaissance on its own terms.
Michael Bernstein, The Tale of the Tribe: Ezra Pound and the Modern Verse Epic (Princeton, 1980). Stimulating study of the modernist collage poem, focusing on Pound, Williams, and Olson.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Genders, Races, and Religious Cultures in Modern American Poetry, 1908-1934 (Cambridge, 2001). Looks at the work of a number of figures from the point of view of such social issues as suffrage, sexuality, and racial and ethnic identity.
-and Peter Quartermain, eds., The Objectivist Nexus (Tuscaloosa, 1999). Essays by leading scholars on such objectivist poets as Oppen, Niedecker, Reznikoff, and Zukofsky.
John Gage, In the Arresting Eye: The Rhetoric of Imagism (Baton Rouge, 1981). Argues that for all of its stance against rhetoric, imagist poetry developed a distinctive rhetoric of its own.
Mary E. Galvin, Queer Poetics: Five Modernist Women Writers (Westport, CT, 1999). The poets discussed include Amy Lowell, Mina Loy, and H.D.
Albert Gelpi, A Coherent Splendor: The American Poetic Renaissance, 1910-1950 (Cambridge, 1987). Traces two strains, symbolism and imagism, as central to the poetry, and stemming from the response to Romanticism.
J. B. Harmer, Victory in Limbo: Imagism, 1908-1917 (London, 1975). Very useful study of this influential movement.
George Hutchinson, The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White (Cambridge, MA, 1995). Explores the interracial aspects of the movement.
Hugh Kenner, The Pound Era (Berkeley, 1971). An influential book that argues the case for its title.
-A Homemade World (New York, 1975). Treats the American context of Moore,
Williams, and Stevens.
Michael Levenson, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Modernism (Cambridge, 1999). Useful essays by a number of leading scholars.
David Levering Lewis, When Harlem Was In Vogue (New York, 1981). An important and wide-ranging study of the Harlem Renaissance.
Alain Locke, The New Negro (repr. New York, 1997). A seminal text of the Harlem Renaissance, first published in 1925. Includes poems by Hughes, Cullen, Toomer, and McKay; this reprint has a useful introduction by Arnold Rampersad.
James Longenbach, Modernist Poetics of History: Pound, Eliot, and the Sense of the Past (Princeton, 1987). Puts Eliot's view of tradition and Pound's of history into valuable context.
-Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats and Modernism (New York, 1988). Treats the important relationship between these two poets, and the broader literary context.
Cary Nelson, Repression and Recovery: Modern American Poetry and the Politics of Cultural Memory, 1910-1945 (Madison, WI, 1989). An important study which raises issues of canon formation and the writing of literary history, and argues for the reassessment of a number of neglected writers.
-Revolutionary Memory: Recovering the Poetry of the American Left (New York, 2001).
An argument for the importance of poetry concerned with political themes, especially of the 1930s.
Michael North, The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language and Twentieth-Century Literature (New York, 1994). Examines the complexities of the use of dialect among white and black modernist writers, especially Pound, Eliot,Williams, McKay, and Toomer.
Catherine Paul, Poetry in the Museums of Modernism: Yeats, Pound, Moore, Stein (Ann Arbor, 2002). Well-researched study argues for the influence of museum iconography and display innovations upon these poets' response to culture and audience.
Marjorie Perloff, The Dance of the Intellect: Studies in the Poetry of the Pound Tradition (Cambridge, 1985). Essays ranging from Pound and Williams to the Language poets by a distinguished critic.
- The Futurist Movement: Avant-Garde, Avant Guerre, and the Language of Rupture
(Chicago, 1986). Treats an important early avant-garde movement in the visual and verbal arts.
- 21st-Century Modernism: The "New" Poetics (Malden, MA, 2002). A well-made argument for the contemporary relevance of modernism.
Lawrence Rainey, Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture (New Haven, 1998). A study of publishing history and patronage that includes discussion of Pound, Eliot, and H.D.
Sanford Schwartz, The Matrix of Modernism: Pound, Eliot, and Early Twentieth-Century Thought (Princeton, 1985). Puts the early work of Pound and Eliot into the context of developments in philosophy, science, and the arts.
Michael Thurston, Making Something Happen: American Political Poetry Between the World Wars (Chapel Hill, 2001). Looks at the political poetry of Edwin Rolfe, Pound, Hughes, and Rukeyser.
Jeffrey Walker, Bardic Ethos and the American Epic Poem: Whitman, Pound, Crane, Williams, Olson (Baton Rouge, 1989). This discussion of the modernist long poem is particularly useful on Williams.
Cheryl A. Wall, Women of the Harlem Renaissance (Bloomington, IN, 1995). The main focus is on novelists, but discusses some often ignored poets associated with the movement.
Studies Focused upon Post-Second World War Poets and Poetry
Charles Altieri, Self and Sensibility in Contemporary American Poetry (Cambridge, 1984). Particularly helpful on the work of Creeley, Ashbery, and Rich.
Lee Bartlett, The Sun is But a Morning Star: Studies in West Coast Poetry and Poetics (Albuquerque, 1989). Includes essays on Rexroth, Everson, Duncan, and Snyder.
Christopher Beach, ed., Artifice & Indeterminacy: An Anthology of the New Poetics (Tuscaloosa, 1998). Helpful introduction to the work of the Language poets.
Stephen Berg, David Bonanno, and Arthur Vogelsang, eds., The Body Electric: America's Best Poetry from the American Poetry Review (New York, 2000). Selections from an important mainstream contemporary journal.
James E. B. Breslin, From Modern to Contemporary: American Poetry, 1945-1965 (Chicago, 1984). Excellent study of five representative poets: Ginsberg, Lowell, Levertov, James Wright, and O'Hara.
Paul Breslin, The Psycho-Political Muse: American Poetry Since the Fifties (Chicago, 1987). A discussion of Confessional, Deep Image, and Projectivist work, with particular attention to Lowell, Plath, Merwin, and Wright.
Cordelia Candelaria, Chicano Poetry: A Critical Introduction (Westport, CT, 1986). Begins with the 1960s and provides a valuable introduction to the poetry, includes discussion of Alberto Ríos and Gary Soto.
Michael Davidson, The San Francisco Renaissance: Poetics and Community at Mid-Century (Cambridge, 1989). A well-researched discussion of the various groups active in the city; includes chapters on Ginsberg, Duncan, and Snyder.
Annie Finch, After New Formalism: Poets on Form, Narrative, and Tradition (Ashland, OR, 1999). Essays by a number of leading figures associated with new formalism.
Thomas Gardner, Regions of Unlikeness: Explaining Contemporary Poetry (Lincoln, 1999). The main focus is upon the poetry of Jorie Graham, Robert Hass, and Michael Palmer.
Alan Golding, From Outlaw to Classic: Canons in American Poetry (Madison, WI, 1995). An important study of post-war canon formation.
Sam Hamill, ed., Poets Against the War (New York, 2003). Poems from the 1990s and later by poets protesting the 2003 war against Iraq.
Paul Hoover, ed., Postmodern American Poetry (New York, 1994). A good selection of poems by many figures from the 1950s to the 1990s.
David Lehman, The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (New York, 1998). Covers 1948-66, a highly readable account of the lives and work of Koch, Schuyler, O'Hara, and Ashbery, including their association with the abstract expressionist painters.
James Longenbach, Modern Poetry after Modernism (New York, 1997). Argues for a nuanced relationship to modernism in the work of a number of poets, including Bishop, Jarrell, Wilbur, and Jorie Graham.
Jeffrey Meyers, Manic Power: Robert Lowell and his Circle (New York, 1987). Examines the relationship of creativity to such personal crises as alcoholism, breakdown, and suicide in the work of Lowell, Jarrell, Berryman, Roethke, and Plath.
Larry Neal, Visions of a Liberated Future: Black Arts Movement Writings (New York, 1989). Essays by a scholar who was a central figure in the Black Arts movement.
Cary Nelson, Our Last First Poets: Vision and History in Contemporary American Poetry (Urbana, IL, 1981). Perceptive readings of Roethke, Kinnell, Duncan, Rich, and Merwin, as well as a useful general essay on the poetry of the Vietnam War.
Sherman Paul, Olson's Push: Origin, Black Mountain, and Recent American Poetry (Baton Rouge, 1978). Excellent study of Olson and the poets associated with Black Mountain College.
Marjorie Perloff, Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media (Chicago, 1991). Looks especially at the work of the Language poets in relation to the visual language of such mass media as network television, advertising, and the computer.
Robert Pinsky, The Situation of Poetry: Contemporary Poetry and its Traditions (Princeton, 1976). Highly readable comments by a former Poet Laureate.
Jed Rasula, The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 1940-1990 (Urbana, IL, 1996). Well-documented, polemical account of the role of anthologies, the literary establishment, and the avant-garde in the formation of the post-war canon.
Linda Reinfeld, Language Poetry: Writing as Rescue (Baton Rouge, 1992). Useful study includes discussion of Charles Bernstein, Michael Palmer, and Susan Howe.
Harvey Shapiro, ed., Poets of World War II (New York, 2003). An anthology on an often overlooked theme.
Eileen Tabios, Black Lightning: Poetry-in-Progress (New York, 1998). Fourteen leading Asian American poets discuss their successive drafts of a poem in progress. A good introduction to their work.
Helen Vendler, Part of Nature, Part of Us: Modern American Poets (Cambridge, MA, 1980). Essays by one of the most prominent commentators on modern poetry.
- The Music of What Happens: Poems, Poets, Critics (Cambridge, MA, 1988). A
further collection of essays by Vendler, mostly on contemporary poets.
Robert von Hallberg, American Poetry and Culture, 1945-1980 (Cambridge, MA, 1985). Very useful study, includes discussion of Creeley, Merrill, Lowell, and Dorn.
Norma Wilson, The Nature of Native American Poetry (Albuquerque, 2001). Discusses eight major Native American poets, including Scott Momaday, Ortiz, and Harjo, and has a valuable bibliography.
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