By Michael H. Whitworth
This crucial advisor to modernist poetry permits readers to make experience of a literary move frequently considered as tricky and intimidating.
- Provides shut examinations of key poems by means of T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, W. B. Yeats, and others
- Considers key options hired to orient and disorient the reader, reminiscent of diction, rhythm, and allusion
- Explores the ideological implications of subject material and the literary varieties and buildings of modernist poetry
- Places modernist poetry with regards to its Victorian and Romantic predecessors
- Encourages readers to interact with the texts and make their very own interpretations, relocating clear of the query of what the poem says in favour of contemplating the impact of the poem on its reader
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Extra resources for Reading Modernist Poetry
I have treated it as obvious that the poems examined above are reflexive. However, in order to deal with more subtle cases, it is necessary to state more formally what makes them so. A reader-response critic might argue that they are “reflexive” only because we choose to interpret them that way. What makes them reflexive? ” “To a Steam Roller” is a little more veiled, but the use of “wit” and of the quotation that speaks of “impersonal judgment in aesthetic / matters” clearly gesture towards poetry: although the quotation refers to aesthetics in general, “wit” is a quality more closely associated with literature than with other arts.
While this does not make the poem in itself a poem about poetry, the steamroller is clearly inimical to the aesthetic sensibility, in which the “illustration” might be enjoyed for its own sake, for its own particularity, not because it conforms to some more general law. indd 22 1/27/2010 2:30:18 PM Reflexivity 23 relates the particular instance to the general idea, and that relates the illustration to the practical application; but it lacks the intelligence that would allow the particular to stand on its own; it cannot see the details that differentiate the individual example from the general law.
To develop this reading, it is necessary to anticipate themes that I will cover in later chapters: the use of quotation and the effects of the verse form. The syllabic verse form of “To a Steam Roller” allows it to accommodate its prose quotation relatively unobtrusively. Moore establishes a scheme in which the first line of each stanza has 5 syllables, the second and third have 12, and the fourth has 15. The effect of syllabic verse, particularly to an ear accustomed to verse based on the relentless beat of iambic feet, is of something tentative, closer to spoken English and closer to prose than conventional verse.