The Poetry of the Americas: From Good Neighbors to Countercultures

The Poetry of the Americas: From Good Neighbors to Countercultures

by Harris Feinsod


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The Poetry of the Americas offers a lively and detailed history of relations among poets in the US and Latin America, spanning three decades from the Good Neighbor diplomacy of World War II through the Cold War cultural policies of the late 1960s. Connecting works by Mart n Ad n, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Jorge Luis Borges, Julia de Burgos, Ernesto Cardenal, Jorge Carrera Andrade, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Jos Lezama Lima, Pablo Neruda, Charles Olson, Octavio Paz, Heberto Padilla, Wallace Stevens, Derek Walcott, William Carlos Williams, and many others, Feinsod reveals how poets of many nations imagined a "poetry of the Americas" that linked multiple cultures, even as it reflected the inequities of the inter-American political system. This account offers a rich contextual study of the state-sponsored institutions and the countercultural networks that sustained this poetry, from Nelson Rockefeller's Office of the Coordinator for Inter-American Affairs to the mid-1960s avant-garde scene in Mexico City. This innovative literary-historical project enables new readings of such canonical poems as Stevens's "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" and Neruda's "The Heights of Macchu Picchu," but it positions these alongside lesser known poetry, translations, anthologies, literary journals and private correspondences culled from library archives across the Americas. The Poetry of the Americas thus broadens the horizons of reception and mutual influence--and of formal, historical, and political possibility--through which we encounter midcentury American poetry, recasting traditional categories of "U.S." or "Latin American" literature within a truly hemispheric vision.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190080990
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2019
Series: Modernist Literature and Culture
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 440
Sales rank: 1,049,437
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Harris Feinsod is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
A Note on the Text

Hazarding the Poetry of the Americas
The Poetry of the Americas: A Genealogy
Integrationist Literary History
Cultural Diplomacy from Good Neighbors to Countercultures
Six Chapters in the Poetry of the Americas

1. Hemispheric Solidarities: Wartime Poetry and the Limits of the Good Neighbor
The Office of the Coordinators of Inter-American Poetry
Bridging the Hemisphere: Carrera Andrade's Hart Crane
Minority Islands: Hughes, Frank, de Moraes, and the Poem of Racial Democracy
Between Dissidence and Diplomacy: Neruda, Bishop, Burgos
William Carlos Williams and the Ardor of Puerto Rico
Lysander Kemp and the Gunboat Good Neighbor

2. A Xenoglossary for the Americas
Foreign Words and Bloc Politics
Steven's Lingua Franca et Jocundissima
Lezama's Citations
Borges and the Dawn of English

3. The Ruins of Inter-Americanism
Privileged Observatories: A Midcentury Culture of Pre-Columbian Ruins
Dead Mouths: Neruda at Machu Picchu
Repossessed Dynamics: Olson and Barlow Among Stones
Mechano Hells and Mayan Isms: Ginsberg, Lamantia, Cardenal
Hidden Doors: Ferlinghetti and Ad n at Machu Picchu

4. The New Inter-American Poetry
Beats and Barbudos
Blackburn, Cort zar and all the Village Cronopios
The True Pan-American Union: Margaret Randall and El Corno Emplumado
Transnational Martyrology: Heraud, Quena, Eshleman
Neruda, Deep Image, and the Politics of Translation
Manhattan Poems beyond the New York School

5. Questions of Anticommunism: Hemispheric Lyric in the 1960s
Bishop's First Anticommunist Shudder
Lowell's Imperial Phantasmagoria
Walcott in the Gulf
Padilla in Difficult Times
Stations in the Gulf

6. Renga and Heteronymy: Cosmopolitan Poetics after 1967
Go Home, Octavio Paz!
La Renga de Occidente
Heteronyms and Literary History


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