american poetry an introduction
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DESCRIPTIONLecture at BISAG, co-presenter Ms. Pankti Desai
- America is another name for the United Statesof Americaor the U.S. or the U.S. of A
3. The Americans
- Theindigenous peoplesof Americaor the Native Americans are believed to havemigrated from Asia, beginning between 12,000 and 40,000 years ago.
- In 1492, the explorerChristopher Columbus, under contract to the Spanish crown, made thefirst contactwith the indigenous people.
4. Early American Poetry
- The poetry before the founding of the United States was largely oral.
- Most of the early colonial poetry is modeled on the British poetry of the seventeenth century. The influence ofthe Puritanismis clearly felt in early American poetry.
5. ANNE BRADSTREET
- One of the firstrecorded poets ofthe British colonies wasAnne Bradstreet(16121672), one of the earliest knownwomen poets who wrote in English
6. Post-IndependenceAmerican Poetry
- The thirteen American colonies declared themselves as independentof the British Empire on 4 July 1776.
- The need to be free from British poetic models and tradition is an important concern of the Post-Independence American poets.
7. Post Independence American Poets
- Some of the most important poets of the nineteenth century wereRalph Waldo Emerson (18031882),Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(18071882), and Edgar Allan Poe(18091849).
8. Post Independence American Poets
- The search for distinctive American voice and identity is reflected in the presence of American landscape and native traditions in their poetry.
9. AMERICAN TRANSCENDENTALISM
- The American Transcendentalism began in 1848 as a protest against the general state of culture andsociety. It was founded on the belief that the idealspiritualstate "transcends" the physicalandempiricaland can be realized only through the individual's intuition , rather than through thedoctrinesof established religions.
- Prominent transcendentalists includedRalph Waldo Emerson,Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman (1819 -1892).
- Transcendentalism was the distinctly American strain of EnglishRomanticismofWilliam WordsworthandS.T.Coleridge. Emerson is believed to have met these two poets.
11. EMERGENCE OF THE TRUE AMERICAN VOICE
- Emerson declared in 1837, Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close.
- Two very different poets represent the emergence of this new spirit and genuinely American voice.
12. WHITMAN AND DICKINSON
- Walt Whitman
- (18191892 )
- Emily Dickinson
13. TWO AMERICAN POETIC IDIOMS
- Louis Untermeyer (Modern American Poetry) notes that t hese two poets represent two major Americanpoeticidioms the free metric and direct emotional expression of Whitman, and thegnomicobscurity andironyof Dickinsonboth of which would stamp the American poetry of the 20th century.
14. HE IS AMERICA
- Whitman is often called
- Americas first poet of Democracy.
- Modernist poet
- Ezra Poundsaid
- Walt Whitman was born into a working class family in West Hills, New York, a village near Hempstead, Long Island, on May 31, 1819, just thirty years after George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the newly formed United States.
16. WALTWHITMAN : A LIFE
- Whitman worked as a journalist, a teacher, a government clerk, and a volunteer nurse duringtheAmerican Civil War(18611865) in addition to publishing his poetry.
17. WALTWHITMAN : A LIFE
- After a stroke towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jerseywhere his health further declined. He died at age 72 and his funeral became a public spectacle.
- Whitman's major work , Leaves of Grass , was first published in 1855 with his own money. The work was an attempt at reaching out to the common person with an Americanepic.He continued expanding and revising it until his death in 1892.
- Walt Whitman, age 37, frontispieceto Leaves of Grasssteel engraving by Samuel Hollyer
- Leaves of Grass has its genesis in an essay called The Poet(1845) byEmerson, which expressed the need for the United States to have its own new and unique poet to write about the new country's virtues and vices.
- The title Leaves of Grass was apun. "Grass" was a term given by publishers to works of minor value and "leaves" is another name for the pages on which they were printed.
- ONE'S-SELF I singa simple, separate Person; Yet utter the word Democratic, the wordEn-masse
- Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power, Cheerfulfor freest action form'd, under the laws divine, The Modern Man I sing
- One of the most important poems inLeaves of Grass
- Ones Self I Sing
23. TERRY MULCAIRE ONOnes Self I Sing
- A poetic universe of productive tension is hinted by that "Yet"; the tense equipoise between individualism and democracy, this poem suggests, is the foundational theme of Whitmans book. The poem then goes on to introduce the site and symbol for this reconciliation of individual to mass: the body.
- I SING the Body electric;
- The armies of those I love engirth me, and I engirth them; They will not let me off till I go with them, respond tothem, And discorrupt them, and charge them full with thecharge of the Soul.
- This radical power of the human body is celebrated in the poem I Sing the Body Electric.
- I SING the Body electric;
25. The Self and the I
- Whitman seems to put himself in the center, but the "self" of the poem's speaker - the "I" of the poem - should not be limited to or confused with the person of the historical Walt Whitman. This is an expansivepersona, one that has exploded the conventional boundaries of the self.As he says, I am large, I contain multitudes
26. OTHER FAMOUS POEMS OFWHITMAN
- Some other famous poems of Whitman are Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, I hear America Singing , A Noiseless patient Spider.
- His poems like When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomd , and O Captain, My Captain are elegies on the death of Abraham Lincoln
- One of the most important American poets and contemporaries of Walt Whitman is Emily Dickinson.She was born 10 December 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she lived until her death on 15 May 1886.
- Although she was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.
- I'm Nobody! Who are you?
- Are youNobodytoo?
- Then there's a pair of us?
- Don't tell! they'd advertiseyou know!
- How drearyto beSomebody!
- How publiclike a Frog
- To tell one's namethe livelongJune
- To an admiring Bog!
- EMILY DICKINSON AT NINE
- I'm Nobody! Who are You?
EMILYDICKINSON 30. EMILY DICKINSON : A LIFE
- Dickinson was a private and introverted person who disliked fame as the poem I am Nobody shows.Adrienne Rich notes that this privacy was freedom to her.
- Dickinsons life as well her poetry stands in complete contrast to Whitman.
31. EMILY DICKINSONS STYLE
- Dickinson's poems are unique. They contain short lines, typically lack titles,slant rhyme, and unconventional capitalization and punctuation.
32. EMILY DICKINSON :MAJOR THEMES
- Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
- The influence of American Transcendentalism is also felt in her works.
33. BECAUSEICOULDNOT STOPFORDEATH
- Because I could not stop for Death
- He kindly stopped for me
- The Carriage held but just Ourselves
- And Immortality.
- The noted critic Allen Tate says about this typical Dickinson poem If the word great means anything in poetry, this poem is one of the greatest in the English language.
34. THETRADITIONOF AMERICANPOETRY
- The tradition of American poetry can be represented by the contrasting figures of Whitman and Dickinson.
- What unites both is the distinctive and individualistic voice that is very American and very powerful .
- The passionate quest for genuine American identity and the spirit of non-conformity continued in the twentieth century.
THETRADITIONOF AMERICANPOETRY 36. THERISEOFMODERNISM
- Modernism emerged in the early part of the twentieth century as a reaction against the sentimental and romantic Victorian poetry.
- Ezra Pound (18851972) and T. S. Eliot (18881965) steered American poetry