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American Poetry after Modernism: The Power of the Word

About the Author

Albert Gelpi

From 1968 through 2002 Albert Gelpi taught American literature, particularly American poetry, from its Puritan beginnings to the present day. As a student of Perry Miller at Harvard, he became interested in the intellectual backgrounds of literary expression, and he has become increasingly interested in the connections between American letters and American painting. He also teaches Southern writing. Gelpi has written Emily Dickinson: The Mind of the Poet (1965) and The Tenth Muse: The Psyche of the American Poet (1975), the first volume of a study of the American poetic tradition. The Tenth Muse centers on American Romantic poetry; its sequel, A Coherent...

Cambridge University Press

Albert Gelpi's American Poetry after Modernism is a study of major poets of the postwar period from Robert Lowell and Adrienne Rich through the Language poets. He argues that what distinguishes American poetry from the British tradition is, paradoxically, the lack of a tradition; as a result, each poet has to ask fundamental questions about the role of the poet and the nature of the medium, has to invent a language and form for his or her purposes. Exploring this paradox through detailed critical readings of the work of fourteen poets, Gelpi presents an original and insightful argument about late twentieth century American poetry and about the historical development of a distinctively American poetry.