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Scan it with me. In doing so, you'll see some of the ways Wheatley uses the apparent order of the poem to reveal an entirely different line of reasoning than what might be evident at first glance. There is practically a secret code inside this poem.
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This all has something to do with English itself, with where stresses naturally fall in particular words, but the way that these words are put together in Wheatley's poem directs whether and how we attend to them.
She uses the logic of the structure of metrical verse as a means toward revelation and resistance. We see this same thing throughout the poem in her use of punctuation, in her rare enjambment, in the ways she plays with allusions, and especially in the fun she has with the homonymic potential of the English language.
Wheatley revels in the ways that something can appear to have one conclusion and also another.
Historians have commented on her reluctance to write about slavery. Perhaps it was because she had conflicting feelings about the institution. In the poem above, critics have said that she praises slavery because it brought her to Christianity. But, in another poem, she wrote that slavery was a cruel fate. Wheatley had to defend her authorship of her poetry in court in They concluded she had written the poems ascribed to her and signed an attestationwhich was included in the preface of her book of collected works: Publishers in Boston had declined to publish it, but her work was of great interest in London.
Her poetry received comment in The London Magazine Inwhich published as a "specimen" of her work, her poem 'Hymn to the Morning', and said: Hammon wrote this poem while Hammon's owner, Lloyd, had temporarily moved himself and the slaves he owned to Hartford, Connecticutduring the Revolutionary War. Hammon saw Wheatley as having succumbed to what he believed were pagan influences in her writing, and so the "Address" consisted of twenty-one rhyming quatrains, each accompanied by a related Bible verse, that he thought would compel Wheatley to return to a Christian path in life.
Also, Poems by a Slave. Light, but did not include poems by Horton.
Style, structure, and influences on poetry Wheatley believed that the power of poetry is immeasurable. Shields notes that her poetry did not simply reflect the literature that she read but was based on her personal ideas and beliefs.
Shields writes, "Wheatley had more in mind than simple conformity. Whereas these poets were unambiguously aligned with high modernismother poets active in the United States in the first third of the 20th century were not. Among the most important of the latter were those who were associated with what came to be known as the New Criticism. Other poets of the era, such as Archibald MacLeish —experimented with modernist techniques but were also drawn towards more traditional modes of writing.
Still others, such as Robinson Jeffers —adopted Modernist freedom while remaining aloof from Modernist factions and programs.
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In addition, there were still other, early 20th Century poets who maintained or were forced to maintain a peripheral relationship to high modernismlikely due to the racially charged themes of their work. The modernist torch was carried in the s mainly by the group of poets known as the Objectivists. Kenneth Rexrothwho was published in the Objectivist Anthology, was, along with Madeline Gleason —a forerunner of the San Francisco Renaissance.
Many of the Objectivists came from urban communities of new immigrants, and this new vein of experience and language enriched the growing American idiom. Karl Shapiro —Randall Jarrell — and James Dickey — all wrote poetry that sprang from experience of active service. Seuss'Theodore Roethke — and Delmore Schwartz —they formed a generation of poets that in contrast to the preceding generation often wrote in traditional verse forms.
After the war, a number of new poets and poetic movements emerged. John Berryman — and Robert Lowell — were the leading lights in what was to become known as the Confessional movementwhich was to have a strong influence on later poets like Sylvia Plath — and Anne Sexton — Though both Berryman and Lowell were closely acquainted with Modernism, they were mainly interested in exploring their own experiences as subject matter and a style that Lowell referred to as "cooked" — that is, consciously and carefully crafted.
Reflecting, sometimes in an extreme form, the more open, relaxed and searching society of the s and s, the Beats pushed the boundaries of the American idiom in the direction of demotic speech perhaps further than any other group. These poets were exploring the possibilities of open form but in a much more programmatic way than the Beats.Toxic Love - Spoken Word Poetry
They based their approach to poetry on Olson's essay Projective Verse, in which he called for a form based on the line, a line based on human breath and a mode of writing based on perceptions juxtaposed so that one perception leads directly to another.
This in turn influenced the works of Michael McClure bornKenneth Irby —and Ronald Johnson —poets from the Midwest who relocated to San Francisco, and in so doing extended the influence of the Black Mountain school geographically westward; their participation in the poetic circles of San Francisco can be seen as partly forming the basis for what would later be known as " Language poetry.
And one-time Black Mountain College resident, composer John Cage —along with Jackson Mac Low —wrote poetry based on chance or aleatory techniques. Inspired by ZenDada and scientific theories of indeterminacythey were to prove to be important influences on the s U.
The Beats and some of the Black Mountain poets are often considered to have been responsible for the San Francisco Renaissance. However, as previously noted, San Francisco had become a hub of experimental activity from the s thanks to Kenneth Rexroth and Gleason. Other poets involved in this scene included Charles Bukowski — and Jack Spicer — These poets sought to combine a contemporary spoken idiom with inventive formal experiment.
Jerome Rothenberg born is well known for his work in ethnopoeticsbut he was also the coiner of the term " deep image ", which he used to describe the work of poets like Robert Kelly bornDiane Wakoski born and Clayton Eshleman born The term was later taken up and popularized by Robert Bly.
Both Merwin and California poet Gary Snyder would also become known for their interest in environmental and ecological concerns. The Small Press poets sometimes called the mimeograph movement are another influential and eclectic group of poets who also surfaced in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late s and are still active today.
This work ranged from formal to experimental. Gene FowlerA. Nettelbeck are among the many poets who are still actively continuing the Small Press Poets tradition. They are lyric poets, heavily autobiographical; some are practitioners of the experimental long poem. Mavericks all, their L.
This group aimed to write poetry that spoke directly of everyday experience in everyday language and produced a poetry of urbane wit and elegance that contrasts with the work of their Beat contemporaries though in other ways, including their mutual respect for American slang and disdain for academic or "cooked" poetry, they were similar. Of this group, John Ashbery, in particular, has emerged as a defining force in recent poetics, and he is regarded by many as the most important American poet since World War II.
American poetry today[ edit ] Nikki Giovanni The last forty years of poetry in the United States have seen the emergence of a number of groups, schools, and trends, whose lasting importance has, necessarily, yet to be demonstrated.
The s saw a revival of interest in surrealismwith the most prominent poets working in this field being Andrei Codrescu born inRussell Edson born in and Maxine Chernoff born in