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Title: The poetics of immanence and experience : Robert Lowell, James Wright, Richard Hugo, Jorie Graham
Author: Davidovska, Lidija
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis defines the poetics of a strand within contemporary American poetry, generally described as “mainstream” by literary critics that I define as “the poetics of immanence and experience”. I delineate the genealogy of this poetics from the late 1950s to the end of the 1990s, focusing on four poets who, I contend, best represent “the situation of poetry” in each of the decades during this period. Each of these poets will be shown to sustain and extend this vibrant, and according to literary scholarship, still dominant tradition in American poetry. Robert Lowell, James Wright, Richard Hugo and Jorie Graham are analyzed in the literary context of a particular decade as the most representative poet of this strand of poetry. Defining and tracing a stable poetic model within the vast poetic, aesthetic and cultural input and output in America during the second half of the twentieth century, contributes to a better understanding of American culture as susceptible to generating experiential types of poetry. Drawing from Altieri’s concept of immanence, I define the poem as immanent when it reveals a presence/immanence of a human consciousness as an individuated and particularized agent/protagonist who narrates his/her personal story in a primarily causal, narrative language generated by the structures of the depicted story. The result is the realistic illusion that the poem captures the experience as “it happened”, which is then only transferred to the poem-world from the Object-world. Altieri’s idea about the general turn in American poetry towards the Wordsworthian Order of Nature and my argument about experience as value-generating principles for the poets, are manifested in Lowell’s photographically “objective” surface descriptions and narrations, Wright’s transcendental moments inspired by numinous nature, Hugo’s projections of the human self upon the Object-towns and Graham’s experiential frames of reference filled with the meditations and speculations of her discursive voice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available