Conclusion: Autobiography and the Language School

Dan Chiasson

in One Kind of Everything

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780226103815
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226103846 | DOI:
Conclusion: Autobiography and the Language School

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A surprising feature of experimental American poetry in the past several years has been its interest in autobiography as a concept. Several of the most important Language and post-Language writers have produced works that we might call in some sense “autobiographical”: these include Susan Howe's Pierce-Arrow and Frame Structures, and Ron Silliman's Under Albany. These “autobiographical” projects by poets of the Language school and Language-influenced younger poets (poets of the so-called post-avant-garde) bear little resemblance, of course, to conventional autobiography. There are sound theoretical reasons, based on the foundational stories of the lyric art, for connecting lyric poetry and anonymity: the renunciations of the social self (in grief, in religious devotion, in shame) described in the stories of Orpheus and, in Anglo-Saxon tradition, in Caedmon, come to mind.

Keywords: American poetry; autobiography; Language school; Susan Howe; Frame Structures; Ron Silliman; Under Albany; lyric poetry; social self

Chapter.  3617 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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