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Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the humanities and the death of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a wise and dedicated literary voice, sounds a note of powerful, tempered optimism. He lays out a fresh approach to American poetry at large, the first in several decades, expounding a defense of the art that will resonate well into the new century. Breaking with the tired habit o Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the humanities and the death of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a wise and dedicated literary voice, sounds a note of powerful, tempered optimism. He lays out a fresh approach to American poetry at large, the first in several decades, expounding a defense of the art that will resonate well into the new century. Breaking with the tired habit of treating American poets as the happy or rebellious children of European romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a distinct lineage for American poetry. His point of departure is the fascinating English writer, John Clare; he then centers on the radically American vision expressed by Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this book insists that "the whole theory and nature of poetry" needs inspiration from science if it is to achieve a truly democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity Theory and on fundamentals of art and grammar, Fletcher argues that our finest poetry is nature-based, environmentally shaped, and descriptive in aim, enabling poets like John Ashbery and other contemporaries to discover a mysterious pragmatism. Intense, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics shows how today's consumerist and conformist culture subverts the imagination of a free people. While centering on American vision, the argument extends our horizon, striking a blow against all economically sanctioned attacks upon the finer, stronger human capacities. Poetry, the author maintains, is central to any coherent vision of life.


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Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the humanities and the death of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a wise and dedicated literary voice, sounds a note of powerful, tempered optimism. He lays out a fresh approach to American poetry at large, the first in several decades, expounding a defense of the art that will resonate well into the new century. Breaking with the tired habit o Amid gloomy forecasts of the decline of the humanities and the death of poetry, Angus Fletcher, a wise and dedicated literary voice, sounds a note of powerful, tempered optimism. He lays out a fresh approach to American poetry at large, the first in several decades, expounding a defense of the art that will resonate well into the new century. Breaking with the tired habit of treating American poets as the happy or rebellious children of European romanticism, Fletcher uncovers a distinct lineage for American poetry. His point of departure is the fascinating English writer, John Clare; he then centers on the radically American vision expressed by Emerson and Walt Whitman. With Whitman this book insists that "the whole theory and nature of poetry" needs inspiration from science if it is to achieve a truly democratic vista. Drawing variously on Complexity Theory and on fundamentals of art and grammar, Fletcher argues that our finest poetry is nature-based, environmentally shaped, and descriptive in aim, enabling poets like John Ashbery and other contemporaries to discover a mysterious pragmatism. Intense, resonant, and deeply literary, this account of an American poetics shows how today's consumerist and conformist culture subverts the imagination of a free people. While centering on American vision, the argument extends our horizon, striking a blow against all economically sanctioned attacks upon the finer, stronger human capacities. Poetry, the author maintains, is central to any coherent vision of life.

37 review for A New Theory for American Poetry: Democracy, the Environment, and the Future of Imagination

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book is exhilarating, expansive, and brilliant. I wish more literary critics wrote with such passion and clarity. It's better than the title makes it sound, and will be particularly interesting to those interested in Whitman, Clare, and/or Ashbery, though the theory dilates sufficiently to be fascinating to anyone with an interest in poetics or American poetry. An imaginative and large-spirited work. Highly recommended. This book is exhilarating, expansive, and brilliant. I wish more literary critics wrote with such passion and clarity. It's better than the title makes it sound, and will be particularly interesting to those interested in Whitman, Clare, and/or Ashbery, though the theory dilates sufficiently to be fascinating to anyone with an interest in poetics or American poetry. An imaginative and large-spirited work. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Pigeonpost

    I have never thought of the horizon the same way since reading this book many years ago.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Sorry for the glut; I felt I needed to reclassify some of my "currently reading" listings, since I am not actually currently reading most of them. Alas. Sorry for the glut; I felt I needed to reclassify some of my "currently reading" listings, since I am not actually currently reading most of them. Alas.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Nestrovski

  5. 5 out of 5

    Katelyn Delvaux

  6. 4 out of 5

    Standard

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

  10. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rosanne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Will

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ish

  14. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe

  15. 5 out of 5

    Omri

  16. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Michael

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  18. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kit

  20. 4 out of 5

    Will

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lou

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ayad Akhtar

  23. 5 out of 5

    Grandeurs

  24. 5 out of 5

    TrĂ¡ese

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Albert

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rob

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wolf

  30. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  31. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  32. 4 out of 5

    Donna Kirk

  33. 4 out of 5

    Riley

  34. 4 out of 5

    Christy

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jared

  36. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  37. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Cooke

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