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Flashcards in Introduction To The Long Poem Deck (62):

The first effort for the American modernists, before the long poem

The imagist program of 1913: aimed to reduce poetic form, purify language, and focus imaginative attention. Characterized by radical experimentation.


William Carlos Williams hope for the long poem

To escape the crude symbolism, strained association, complicated form requiring meter as meter rather than meter as the works essential.


Eliot’s hope for the long poem

-to emphasize importance of art
-great concentration from many experiences


Time it took to write a long poem

Over years, announcing the long poem as model of modernism


Gestational development in which

They were revised and reconsidered and changed in structure and focus, changing and developing alongside modernism


The discontinuous nature of long poem reveals

- the poets uncertainty of purpose
-pretensions and doubts
-play and trivializing
-struggle with despair and failure to create and succeed


The narrative provided by the process of composition offers

-narrative component many non narrative long poems had


Long poets had this in common:

-Dilemma of form
-language matching public themes they wished to address


Modernist long poem is long in

-time of composition
-initial intention
-final form


Modern long poem is concerned first and last with

It’s own length


Eliot’s shift from lyric to long poem began in the tradition of

1. Private world of prufrock to
2. Urban satire which initiated move to
3. public poem towards
4. Wasteland with culture as subject which is surveyed and judged


Pound struggled initially because

He teetered between didacticism and aestheticism


Hart crane struggle because

He lost faith in his convictions


Hart crane, as poet of public stature, wished to articulate

A faith for a world he judged as “in transition from a decayed culture towards a reorganization of human evaluations.”


Williams, regarding Paterson

“The longer I lived in my place, among details of my life, I realized these isolated observations needed pulling together to gain profundity.


Pound defined translation as

-Transmission -transmitting the impulse (motive or emotion)


3 parts of TS Eliot’s Tradition and individual Talent

1. Concept of tradition
2. Impersonality of poetry
3. Summary


Qualities of Eliot’s Tradition

-not the slavish imitation of the past
-can’t be inhereted, only obtained via hard labor
-can only be obtained by those with historical sense
- historical sense is not only pastness of past but also its presence.
Whole of literature is one continuos flow


How is the long poem distinguished from long sequences like Whitman’s leaves of grass?

-The intention, from beginning
-one poem called up next to respond


Sequence/ordering the long poem

-work could start with final section
-several sections could be composed at once
-sections as written and as published followed 2different sequences, all derived from poets initial sense they were writing long poem


How was long poem experimental

-with form
-with poetry as a public language


Long poems celebrated

-the city
-models for good government
-values and visions to live by
-responded to conditions of modern world


Eliot and pounds strategies

-adapting older models of public poems to modern usage


Cranes strategy



Williams strategy

Trusted materials of his world


How was the long poem affected by its difficulties

-unsteadiness their poems while also
-emphasizing poets willingness to learn requirments of long poem from act of composition


Experimental poets were attracted to the long poem because of

The bulk of its processes which eased pressure of constant experimentation and in fact restricted experimentation


While , after initial enthusiasm wanes, the intended length of a poem may inhibit expression...

The challenge births a creative power of its own


Effect of language within the long poem

-language eased
-words took form
-oftentimes wrote itself
-led to unpremeditated Writing


The artistic process of the long poem was mysterious due to its polar tendencies to both

-unravel from within without deliberate intervention
- act as a gravitational force towards outside sources
-prompting modern poets to look to cultural anthropology, obscure historical or geological charts (studious reading)
(Thus the poem ricocheted between the two)


How did modern poets reconcile the differences between the demands of the long poem and their customary tendencies?

They started the long poem with an image , symbol, fragmented translation or mood of ecstatic affirmation.


Williams entry point within Paterson

-subject is reduced to an image
-the city is reduced to a giant asleep beside the park


Cranes entry point in The Bridge

-Brooklyn bridge is symbo, of bridgeship


How did the first sections stand out? X5

-lacked a principle in development
-could be extracted as separate finished poems
-did not announce subject
-promised no revelations
-offers no opening to work ahead


Symbolism of beginning the long poem

-started with a beginning that could not begin
-the sense of structure had to be dismantled to be overcome


Crane fell away from the bridge trying to

conceive links between beginning and end resulting in final cry of anguish


Williams, crane, and pound had to revise ———- and acknowledge ——— and the meaning of ———

Revise their sense of purpose and acknowledge the time taken to write and meaning of time


The unworkability of the long form contributed to

The form as a troubled composition, shape shifting to reflect unworkability


Classic definition of modernist form (opposite of long poem)

-based on space logic
-immediate reference of word groups to objects or events they symbolize
-these references determine order and sequence


Role of reader in classic def of modernism vs. long poem
(Modern poetry asks readers to...)

-modern poetry asks readers to suspend process of individual reference until post-poem when
-entire pattern can be internalized (apprehended as a unity)
-long poem lacks entire pattern resulting in disunity, disorder and a purpose constantly under construction.


Comparison between classic modern form and long form is derived from Pounds definition of...

-the image as “that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.”
-this sense of form was accompanied by limitations under the lens of the long poem
-they still desired the intellectual and emotional complex but this time it demanded more time to grasp, to compose, to comprehend.


Rather than building on Mallarmes dislocation of the temporality of language, long poets chose to

Embrace both time and the time logic of language


The modernist long poem was influence by

-European and English models
-native idealism


Appeal of idealism

-the sense of the whole
-the idea that the greatness of a poem lies in the
greatness of its theme.
-EX: Williams, while a fan of particulars, desired not just an image, but an image that would embody the whole knowable world, something larger than birds and flowers


Critics response to Eliot

Considered important as social criticism,


Pounds admission re: cantos

-as a frustrated search for historical interpretation, he still needed to clarify obscurities and make clearer definite ideas or dissociations because an epic is a poem containing history


Textual examples of inability of form to generate content

-Paterson III-Williams acknowledges that his dream “seems beyond attainment.”
-The Bridge-Crane is “impassioned with some song we fail to keep.”
-These refer not to failure of subject but failure of inspiration


How did the long poem repurpose it’s own failures?

(For Williams and Crane announced the subject of their works as public life in Paterson and American history in Williams, only to realize these particulars belonged to the art world of poetry, to the inner imagination of the poet rather than public eye)
-the imaginative matter (dream and song) outlasted the public subjects the poet turned to for materials, and thus a re-purposing took place.


The overall failure/success of Williams Paterson

The subject, the city, proved uninhabitable, overrun by the poets celebratory imagination


Failure/success of Williams dream in Paterson

-dream: to find one phrase that will/ lie married beside another for delight” is actually the dream of form.
-Addiitonally, it is the dream of marriage between the poet and his world and of marriage in that world.


Paterson proved more of a finalize to Williams than a success because

-it lacked evidence to support such a hope for marriage
-Williams lacked resources to imagine it (he was still same violent, iconoclastic, destructive poet of Spring and All and this outweighs his celebratory dream.)


How did Williams stand out in terms of difficulty

-he could not writ over what he knew and move away from rebellion and judgement towards celebration
-the task of writing a public poem from a private dream was a heavy one, a weight not even Williams could bare.


Middle stage/sequence of the long poem

-struggle with inadequacies of the beginning that allowed th randomness of the poem
-reflected th difficulties of cultural discontent in that it arrived at th center with no inevitable development


In the end, who wins, the poem or the poet

Unique to the long poem, the poem defeats its creator


-it was easy to pursue the unusual hazards of such extended composition because:

-it had no principles of generation
-no limits to reach or exceed
-no narrative to tell
-no hero to tell it
-no common language or assumed answers between poet and reader and thus
-it was entirely new, with unlimited freedom to experiment


Difficulty with “making it new” with the long poem

-the problem of how to make the familiar world new
-a contradiction exists between the revolutionary enthusiasm for the new and the attachment to a social, historical, and political reality
-while the form seems to defy mimetic function and the world it concerns itself with is complex, neither can be called unknown, or new.


The modern poem is a self reflexive exhibition in which any word group is referenced inside the poem, the long poem...

While self reflexive, but it chooses to concern that self reflexivity with the inadequacy to
-and refer to an objective world.


Pounds alternative solution to the “space logic” of the other modern poem

-with the logic of time, comes to a fuller understanding of of his intentions through the use of
-constant clarification of sources
-obsessive moments
-circling back to words and details


Final stage of the long poem (which one would expect to grow more self reflexive)

-expresses the poets late conservative desire for a different poem
-lesser effort
-loss of faith
-pointed to th failure of design, despite the fact that such a design may not have been specified anywhere in the poem.
-Pound calls at the end for “a little light, like a rushlight/ to lead back to splendor”
-Williams: “the dream is in pursuit.”


The long poem as a symbol of the unattained dream:

-moving from idealization to deflation-a devaluing of the poem itself
-the bulk of it made them realize their limitations as true recorders (inaccuracy)
-looking back, and even looking forward, they are left with the melancholy of their mood.


Pounds ending as evidence of exhaustion

Two mice and a moth my guides-
To have heard the farfella gasping
As toward a bridge over worlds.


To be men not destroyers


Collectively, the composition of long poems compose:

The history of modernism, and from them the concluding narrative of the movement itself.