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PARATEXTUAL COMMUNITIES American Avant Garde Poetry Since 1950

Vanderborg, Susan

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ISBN 10: 0809323230 / ISBN 13: 9780809323234
Published by Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 2001
Condition: Very good Hardcover
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Black cloth covered boards, titles embossed in bronze at spine, corners straight. Dust jacket shows light shelf wear to edges, sunning to spine, no cuts or tears, archival Brodart protected, previous vendor sticker affixed to back cover on top of protective covering. Book body clean and tight. Bookseller Inventory # 48442

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Bibliographic Details

Title: PARATEXTUAL COMMUNITIES American Avant Garde...

Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition:Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very good -

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

Susan Vanderborg examines the role of paratexts notes, prefaces, marginalia, and source documents in shaping the reading communities for American experimental poetry published since 1950.

            

Since 1950, Vanderborg notes, American avant-garde poetry has been dominated by two seemingly contradictory impulses: a disruption of language as transparent communication and a need to contextualize the poets’ word games for readers. For many authors, the solution has been the creation of a split text a difficult, elliptical, disjunctive poetry accompanied by more accessible paratexts: creatively arranged essays, notes, source histories, and other references that serve as necessary complements to the poetry rather than as secondary commentary. Paratexts, which tend to be more colloquial and readable than the poetry, provide a forum in which to discuss issues of audience and community.

            

Vanderborg examines both the innovations and the limitations of paratexts in redefining the poet's community, using the writing of six poets who represent different stages in the evolution of this form: Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, Susan Howe, Charles Bernstein, Lorenzo Thomas, and Johanna Drucker.

 

In his parenthetical asides and poetically written essays, Charles Olson is the most optimistic of the six in terms of the poet's ability to portray a literary community that continually redefines its boundaries to include new perspectives. Jack Spicer interrupts his own poetry books with prose notes and letters: exegetical paratexts that betray great ambivalence about the danger posed to the artist when a poetic text is circulated publicly. Both Susan Howe and Charles Bernstein self-consciously align themselves with marginal poetic traditions against a canonical literary history, attempting to retrieve lost or neglected writings. Vanderborg concludes with the visual paratexts of Lorenzo Thomas and Johanna Drucker, who incorporate pop culture icons throughout their poetry to satirize national narratives of both conformity and rebellion.

About the Author:

Susan Vanderborg is an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, specializing in twentieth-century American experimental poetry.

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