Song and Story

James Longenbach

in The Resistance to Poetry

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780226492490
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226492513 | DOI:
Song and Story

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This chapter begins with looking at the poems by Charles Bernstein called “Poem” and “Johnny Cake Hollow” to illustrate how a poem that stakes its claim exclusively on sound will only travel so far as a poem of what and why. It then considers George Oppen's “Debt,” and argues that the Objectivist movement in poetry was not about focusing language on objects but about the achievement of form. Oppen was one of the twentieth century's most dazzling makers of lines. Reading him, it is impossible not to be aware of how, in the strategic absence of meter and rhyme, line becomes the crucial means by which a poet controls stress, intonation, and speed.

Keywords: poems; poetry; sound; Charles Bernstein; Poem; Johnny Cake Hollow; Objectivist movement; George Oppen

Chapter.  3625 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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