Elit 48 c class 27

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  • A good place to start a discussion of postmodernism is by wrestling with the term itself. Have any of your students ever encountered the term? Do any of them know what it means? Even if they don’t know, what does the term suggest? If “modern” suggests “the present,” how can you be “post-” the present? What ironies or contradictions are implied by the term? Help your students to see that the contradiction implied by the term is part of its appeal, and that debating the term is as important as defining it. Let your students know that “postmodernism” means different things to different people, and that the lack of consensus over how to define the term itself is what has made postmodernism such a vibrant literary and philosophical movement.
  • “ After several decades in which impersonality and objectivity were the key values in poetry criticism, poets shifted the focus from the poem as artifact . . . to the poem as open-ended process. The unconscious began to take up a larger place in poetry, and accident and chance became, at times, structuring principles . . . For some poets a focus on the body brought attention to issues of gender and the ways in which the particularity of a woman’s embodied experiences had been silenced in poetry . . . A poetry open to the unconscious and centered in the body became more personal, inviting into the poem the particulars of a poet’s life” ( NAAL 400).
  • Elit 48 c class 27

    1. 1. Essay due in 60 hours?Prefer to volunteer as a tributeinstead?ELIT48CClass27
    2. 2. Shall we negotiate?
    3. 3. Carolyn Keen Literature Prize• Awards: Money! 100-300 bucks!• Winner published in the RedWheelbarrow• Deadline extended until Tuesday,May 28• Requirement 3-10 pages
    4. 4. To Apply1. Submit a one-page, typed cover letterstating academic and career goals. Pleaseinclude your name, email address, homeaddress, and home phone. Be sure toidentify the course for which you wrote youressay.2. Submit two copies of your essays to AmyLeonard’s mailbox in the Language ArtsDivision Office by Tuesday, May 28th
    5. 5. Poetry is “a verbalartifact which mustbe as skillfully andsolidly constructedas a table or amotorcycle”-W. H. Auden
    6. 6. AGENDAPostmodern ManifestosOlsonO’HaraBishopAmmonsLordePostmodernismAuthor Introduction:Ralph Ellison
    7. 7. Charles Olson1910-1979Frank OHara(1926-1966)Elizabeth Bishop1911 –1979A. R.Ammons(1926-2001)Audre Lorde1934- 1992
    8. 8. “(1) the kinetics of the thing. A poem is energy transferred fromwhere the poet got it” (409).“(2) the principle, the law which presides conspicuously oversuch composition”– “FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OFCONTENT” (410).(3) the process of the thing, how the principle can be made so toshape the energies that the form is accomplished– “ONE PERCEPTION MUST IMMEDIATELY AND DIRECTLYLEAD TO A FURTHER PERCEPTION” (410).Charles OlsonCharles OlsonDo Olson’s three points apply only to a radically new form of postmodernpoetry, or are these principles that apply to all poetry? Is “projectiveverse” a specific kind of poetry, or is it better characterized as a poeticsensibility?Do Olson’s three points apply only to a radically new form of postmodernpoetry, or are these principles that apply to all poetry? Is “projectiveverse” a specific kind of poetry, or is it better characterized as a poeticsensibility?
    9. 9. FRANK O’HARAFRANK O’HARA• In “Personism,” O’Hara defines the poemas an intimate link connecting two people.– “I went back to work and wrote a poem for [aperson I was in love with]. While I was writingit I was realizing that if I wanted to I could usethe telephone instead of writing the poem,and so Personism was born. It’s a veryexciting movement . . . which puts the poemsquarely between the poet and the person.”• In “Personism,” O’Hara defines the poemas an intimate link connecting two people.– “I went back to work and wrote a poem for [aperson I was in love with]. While I was writingit I was realizing that if I wanted to I could usethe telephone instead of writing the poem,and so Personism was born. It’s a veryexciting movement . . . which puts the poemsquarely between the poet and the person.”
    10. 10. ELIZABETH BISHOPELIZABETH BISHOP• “In general, I deplore the ‘confessional.’ ”• “But now—ye gods—anything goes, and Iam so sick of poems about the students’mothers & father and sex lives and so on.”• “I can’t bear to have anything you write tell—perhaps—what we’re really like in 1972—perhaps it’s as simple as that.”• “In general, I deplore the ‘confessional.’ ”• “But now—ye gods—anything goes, and Iam so sick of poems about the students’mothers & father and sex lives and so on.”• “I can’t bear to have anything you write tell—perhaps—what we’re really like in 1972—perhaps it’s as simple as that.”
    11. 11. In “Personism,” O’Hara defines the poem as anintimate link connecting two people. In her letter toRobert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop rails against whatshe considers excessive intimacy in poeticexpression. How can such different opinionstoward the personal in poetry both be consideredunder the heading of “postmodern poetry”? Is onemore postmodern than the other? Whether or notthey agree with each other, are they bothresponding to a shared set of concerns aboutpoetry? About life in the post–World War II era?In “Personism,” O’Hara defines the poem as anintimate link connecting two people. In her letter toRobert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop rails against whatshe considers excessive intimacy in poeticexpression. How can such different opinionstoward the personal in poetry both be consideredunder the heading of “postmodern poetry”? Is onemore postmodern than the other? Whether or notthey agree with each other, are they bothresponding to a shared set of concerns aboutpoetry? About life in the post–World War II era?
    12. 12. A. R. AMMONSA. R. AMMONS• “How does a poem resemble a walk?”– “each makes use of the whole body”– “every walk is unreproducible, as is everypoem”– “each turns, one or more times, andeventually returns”– “the motion occurs only in the body of thewalker or in the body of the words”• “How does a poem resemble a walk?”– “each makes use of the whole body”– “every walk is unreproducible, as is everypoem”– “each turns, one or more times, andeventually returns”– “the motion occurs only in the body of thewalker or in the body of the words”
    13. 13. Ammons contends that poetry and walking are alike in that“both the real and the fictive walk are externalizations of aninward seeking.”Let’s talk about that in terms of this: “A poetry . . . centeredin the body became more personal, inviting into the poemthe particulars of a poet’s life.”How do Ammons’s ideas about the physicality of poetryilluminate the debate between Bishop and O’Hara aboutusing poetry to communicate private matters? WouldAmmons agree with Bishop or O’Hara? Or is Ammonschanging the terms of the debate entirely, shifting ourattention to physical experience rather than personalexperience?
    14. 14. AUDRE LORDEAUDRE LORDE• “Poetry is the way we help give name tothe nameless so it can be thought.”• “We can train ourselves to respect ourfeelings and to discipline (transpose) theminto language that catches those feelingsso that they can be shared.”• “Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is theskeleton architecture of our lives.”• “Poetry is the way we help give name tothe nameless so it can be thought.”• “We can train ourselves to respect ourfeelings and to discipline (transpose) theminto language that catches those feelingsso that they can be shared.”• “Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is theskeleton architecture of our lives.”
    15. 15. Lorde is making some big claims about theimportance of poetry. Is she overstating her case?Is poetry as important as she claims it to be? Ifyou don’t think that poetry per se is as importantas Lorde insists, what if we read her manifesto tobe a defense of language as a whole? Do weneed language—and, in particular, the kind ofprecise, articulate, and beautiful language that wefind in poetry—to make sense of our existence ashuman beings? What would life be like withoutlanguage to give meaning to it?
    16. 16. Brief LecturePostmodernism
    17. 17. • What is postmodernism?– the experimental aesthetic movements of thepost–World War II era– a multi-faceted engagement with modernistaesthetics and philosophy• a rejection of modernism• a continuation of the “unfinished project” ofmodernism• a self-critical reflection on modernismFrom Modernism to Postmodernism
    18. 18. • Rejects 19th-century sociological realismand 20th-century psychological realism• Considers history and fiction both asproducts of the imagination• Questions whether literature can representreality• Focuses self-reflexively on language itselfPostmodern Fiction
    19. 19. In fiction “the issue under debate was realism. Whethergrounded in sociological observation (as some laternineteenth-century writers would have it) or in psychologyand myth (the favorite of some twentieth-centurymoderns), such representation had become, by 1960, anorientation harder and harder to defend . . . One responseby subsequent writers would be to write what the criticLinda Hutcheon has called ‘historiographic metafiction,’ inwhich the novelist treats actual events and fantasizedmaterial on an equal basis, with an emphasis on howhistory and fiction are events created by theimagination . . . Other writers chose to question the verypresumption of representational literary art . . . Literaryjournalism, as always influenced by its fictive cousin, nowcentered less on presumed objectivity than on theexperience of the journalist encountering that object”(NAAL 400–401).
    20. 20. • A shift from the poem as artifact to thepoem as open-ended process• An increasing emphasis on theunconscious, accident, and chance• A growing focus on the body, gender, andwomen’s experiences• A greater sense of the poet’s personal lifereflected in the poetry itselfPostmodern Poetry
    21. 21. “After several decades in which impersonality andobjectivity were the key values in poetry criticism, poetsshifted the focus from the poem as artifact . . . to the poemas open-ended process. The unconscious began to takeup a larger place in poetry, and accident and chancebecame, at times, structuring principles . . . For somepoets a focus on the body brought attention to issues ofgender and the ways in which the particularity of awoman’s embodied experiences had been silenced inpoetry . . . A poetry open to the unconscious and centeredin the body became more personal, inviting into the poemthe particulars of a poet’s life” (NAAL 400).
    22. 22. Author IntroductionRalph Ellison
    23. 23. Ralph Waldo Ellison wasnamed after the celebratedpoet Ralph Waldo Emerson,by his father who wanted hisson to become a poet. TodayEllison is mostly rememberedas the mastermind who wrotethe emotive and gripping novel“Invisible Man” (along withmany others) which met withmuch critical success, winningthe National Book Award in1953.Ellison was born in OklahomaCity, Oklahoma on 1stMarch1914. He was born to IdaMillsap and Lewis AlfredEllison and had a brotherHerbert Millsap Ellison. In hisinitial years Ellison and hisfamily had to deal with difficulttimes. In 1965, Ellisonreceived the honor of his book“Invisible Man” being declaredthe most important novel sincethe end of WW11 by survey of200 prominent literary figures.
    24. 24. HOMEWORK Read Ralph Ellison, “The Prologue,” and “Battle Royal” fromInvisible Man. 206-224 Post #27 Choose one: What does the reader know about the narrator solely on the basis ofthe Prologue? Explain both what he reveals about himself explicitlyand what inferences can be drawn, justifying your findings as yougo along. Why would the audience listening to the narrator’s speech havereacted so strongly to the narrator’s mistake? Discuss theimplications of his slip of the tongue. QHQ

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