Beautiful Enemies: Friendship and Postwar American Poetry by Andrew Epstein

By Andrew Epstein

even though it has lengthy been general to visualize the archetypal American poet making a song a solitary "Song of Myself," a lot of the main enduring American poetry has really been preoccupied with the drama of friendship. during this lucid and soaking up learn, Andrew Epstein argues that an obsession with either the pleasures and difficulties of friendship erupts within the "New American Poetry" that emerges after the second one global struggle. by means of concentrating on essentially the most major postmodernist American poets--the "New York college" poets John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and their shut modern Amiri Baraka--Beautiful Enemies unearths a primary paradox on the center of postwar American poetry and tradition: the avant-garde's dedication to individualism and nonconformity runs without delay counter to its personal valorization of neighborhood and collaboration. in reality, Epstein demonstrates that the conflict among friendship and nonconformity complicates the mythical alliances cast through postwar poets, turns into a important subject matter within the poetry they created, and leaves modern writers with a sophisticated legacy to barter. instead of easily celebrating friendship and poetic neighborhood as nurturing and encouraging, those poets signify friendship as one of those exhilarating, maddening contradiction, a website of charm and repulsion, affinity and rivalry.

Challenging either the reductive evaluations of yankee individualism and the idealized, seriously biographical celebrations of literary camaraderie one reveals in a lot severe dialogue, this ebook presents a brand new interpretation of the strange dynamics of yank avant-garde poetic groups and the function of the person inside them. via situating his huge and revealing readings of those hugely influential poets opposed to the backdrop of chilly struggle cultural politics and in the context of yankee pragmatist proposal, Epstein uncovers the collision among radical self-reliance and the siren name of the interpersonal on the middle of postwar American poetry.

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