A companion to twentieth-century poetry by Neil Roberts

By Neil Roberts

Compiled and edited by means of Neil Roberts (Professor of English Literature at Sheffield University), A better half To Twentieth-Century Poetry is a magnificent anthology of forty-eight scholarly essays drawn from a wide selection of authors and academicians learning the improvement of poetry in twenty English-speaking international locations during the last century. From context of the poets and their paintings; to the repercussions of the post-colonial age; to the expanding voice of lady poets; in addition to an total tendency in the direction of self-consciousness and self-reflection; A better half To Twentieth-Century Poetry bargains proficient and informative insights gleaned from as common and various a bunch of members because the authors of the memorable poems themselves.

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Gage, John (1983). In the Arresting Eye: The Rhetoric of Imagism. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. Kenner, Hugh (1971). The Pound Era. Berkeley: University of California Press. Kenner, Hugh (1988). A Sinking Island: The Modern English Writers. London: Barrie and Jenkins. Lawrence, D. H. (1986). Poems, ed. Keith Sagar. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Longenbach, James (1988). Stone Cottage: Pound, Yeats, and Modernism. New York: Oxford University Press. Mariani, Paul (1981). William Carlos Williams: A New World Naked.

E. E. Cummings tried his hand at avant-garde painting as well as poetry. William Carlos Williams learned to look at nature with the eyes of a non-representational painter, as in the opening lines of ‘Spring Strains’ (1916): In a tissue-thin monotone of blue-grey buds crowded erect with desire against the sky – tense blue-grey twigs slenderly anchoring them down, drawing them in – two blue-grey birds chasing a third struggle in circles, angles, swift convergings to a point that bursts instantly!

It opens with an epigraph from Heraclitus upon the instability of things and seeks then to reconcile ‘the splendour of our experience’ with its ‘awful brevity’ (Pater, 1986, p. 152). ). We can detect here the germ of Joyce’s notion of ‘epiphany’ and of Pound’s early doctrine of the ‘luminous detail’ (Pound, 1973, p. 23), even of his definition of the image as presenting ‘an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time’ (Pound, 1960, p. 4). Once more, however, if Pound was at first attracted to the Nineties and an English aestheticism inspired by Pater, he was soon to distinguish his own emphasis on hardness and precision from the associative Symbolism he found in Yeats, and from Pater’s ‘impressionism’.

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