Poetry Movements Project
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Poetry Movements Project

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Poetry Movements Project Poetry Movements Project Presentation Transcript

  • Modernist Poetry, What is It?
    • Modernist poetry arose in response to the flowery language typical of Victorian and Romantic literature. They emulated the style of earlier period writers like the Ancient Greek lyric poet, Sappho and the Italian poet, Dante.
    • Modernist poetry is
      • Often a comment on society. Of interest is Eliot's The Waste Land as its fragmented structure can be seen as an analogy to post WWI's societal confusion.
      • Poetry that inherently questions the nature of the experience between the reader and poem.
      • Experimentation with words and structure; an upheaval of traditional literary styles.
  • Traits of Modernist Poetry
    • Free/experimental verse
    • Literal meaning of words
    • A pleasant sound to the listener
    • Words only serve the purpose of the poem
    • The use of 'word collages', particularly prominent after Eliot's The Waste Land . A meaning becomes evident from the dislocated words.
  • Contributions to Wider Literature
    • The popularization of an economical and matter-of-fact writing style made famous by the author, Ernest Hemingway.
    • Beginning in the 1890s, the wildfire adoption of the defining qualities of Modernist poetry to art, music and literature.
    View slide
  • Relevance
    • The Modernist style is evident in the works of America's greatest writers. Through them, we have writers like the near-contemporary poet, Bukowski, and still alive novelist, Chuck Palahniuk.
    • The Modernist style defines much of what we're writing in this class.
    View slide
  • Historical Context of Modernist Poetry
  • According to the University of Virginia:
    • “ The term modernism refers to the radical shift in aesthetic and cultural sensibilities evident in the art and literature of the post-World War One period. The ordered, stable and inherently meaningful world view of the nineteenth century could not, wrote T.S. Eliot, accord with ‘the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history.’.. rejecting nineteenth-century optimism, [modernists] presented a profoundly pessimistic picture of a culture in disarray.”
  • What Was Happening? Late 19 th , early 20 th century
    • In 1889 the first Otis elevator is installed in the Demarest building in NYC
    • In 1895 the Duryea brothers make and market the first practical American automobile
    • Wars like WWI and WWII reshape the world, changing the very nature of humanity.
    • Wars bring about losses in human life, as of yet never before seen, but also bring about
    • Huge advancements in technology in the areas of communication, production, and transportation
    • Industrialization creates large urban centers, changing how many people around the world live and view the world
  • World War One
    • Modernist writers like Aldington ended up fighting
    • Trench warfare was a new phenomenon and affected the psyche of many poets
    • Famous poems such as Homage to Sextus Propertius (which ridiculed war time propaganda) were direct results of the war
    • Arguably the most famous English-language poem to emerge from World War One was T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land
  • The Waste Land (excerpt)
    • Unreal City
    • Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
    • A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
    • I had not thought death had undone so many.
    • Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
    • And each man fixed his eyes before his feet,
    • Flowed up the hill and down King William Street
    • To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours
    • With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.
    • There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying, "Stetson!
    • You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!
    • That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
    • Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
    • Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
    • Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
    • Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
    • You! hypocrite lecteur!--mon semblable!--mon frère!"
  • So What?
    • Modernist poets return to their lives from World Wars One and Two to find that
    • Transportation has become easier, making the world smaller
    • Huge urban centers create a clogged, chaotic, overpopulated view of reality
    • Technical innovations abound and are increasing more common every day
    • The world appears unstable and unable to avoid conflict
  • As The World Changes
    • The Imagists are commonly seen as the first English-language modernist poets
    • The Imagists favored sharp, crisp images and and language.
    • Modernists began to move into free verse, away from formalism and poetic diction of Victorian poetry, almost in response to what they saw as a chaotic and anarchistic world