American Poetry after Modernism: The Power of the Word
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.