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Publisher's Summary

With lively writing and illuminating examples, David Caplan argues that two characteristics mark the vast, contentious literature. On the one hand, several of America's major poets and critics claim that America needs a poetry equal to the country's distinctiveness. They advocate for novelty and for a break with what is perceived to be outmoded and foreign. On the other hand, American poetry welcomes techniques, styles, and traditions that originate from far beyond its borders. The force of these two competing characteristics, American poetry's emphasis on its uniqueness and its transnationalism, drives both individual accomplishment and the broader field. These two characteristic features energize American poetry, quickening its development into a great national literature that continues to inspire poets in the contemporary moment.

American Poetry: A Very Short Introduction moves through history and honors the poets' artistry by paying close attention to the verse forms, meters, and styles they employ. Examples range from Anne Bradstreet, writing a century before the United States was founded, to the poets of the Black Lives Matter movement. This concise examination of American poetry enriches our understanding of both the literature's distinctive achievement and the place of its most important writers within it.

©2022 Oxford University Press (P)2022 Tantor

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