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Crisis and the US Avant-Garde


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About the Author

Ben Hickman studied at University College, London and the University of Kent, and has published on the New York School, the New American Poetry, contemporary British poetry and John Clare.


Ben Hickman's Crisis and The US Avant-Garde is a lively, well-argued, finely researched book. It contributes significantly to a new wave of scholarship on twentieth-century poetry that dispenses with long-held period divisions, such as 'modern' and 'postmodern', and asks questions about the relationship between poetry and politics that do not depend on the truisms of an older avant-gardist perspective... Hickman's case is made especially persuasive by his choice of the framework of 'crisis', which allows him to shift the burden of 'politics' from individual speakers to the times themselves... Hickman's book is both timely and engaging, and it should find enthusiastic readers among the widening circle of critics and poets who are confronting the economic and political crises of the early twenty-first century with 'less [interest] in Ezra Pound of Russian Futurism than [in] the particular class and cultural dynamics of its own contemporary existence'. Hickman knows the literary value of Pound and the Russians, of course--but he is, like the poets he restores to our vision, most interested in the radical present.

--Christopher Nealon "Review of English Studies"

Hickman's highly readable account of some aspects of contemporary American poetry includes a close survey of work by Zukofsky and Olson, Rukeyser, Baraka and Ron Silliman [and is a] clear, precise and lucid account of the avant-garde in American poetry.

-- "Tears"

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