Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

(2.1) Experimental Language Poetry

Situation in 1970s

- 1950s-60s: Academic poets writing formally precise shorter lyrics stop being mainstream

(a) domination of the ‘workshop lyric’, easy-to-write free verse poetry in the confessional mode, based on autobiographical experience with a generalizing epiphanic moment, judged according to the criterion of the sincerity of the voice

(b) appearance of formerly taboo radical feminist poetry

(c) new emergence of poetry of ethnic minorities

Language Poetry


< Modernist poets: Gertrude Stein, e.e.cummings

< older generation avant-garde poets: John Cage, Charles Olson, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch

< European literary theory, postmodernism, poststructuralism

< European language philosophy of Wittgenstein, Barthese, Derrida, etc.


- promoted by specialized avant-garde magazines for small coterie audiences

> This (1971): founded by the poets Robert Grenier and Barrett Watten as an alternative to mainstream poetry

> L=a=n=g=u=a=g=e (1978-82): founded by the poets and editors Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews to open a dialogue on the relationship of literature and politics

> ‘I Hate Speech’ (1971): an influential essay by Robert Grenier


- against the dominant mainstream poetry in free verse and confessional mode

- language philosophy of nonsense and fragmentation

- word play, language play, deranged language, random word list, challenged meaning

- the end is the word play itself, the point is that there is no point identifiable

- intellectually challenging, playful in philosophical outlook, not easily accessible


(1) 1970s: experiments with individual letters and words

(2) 1980s: experiments with larger forms

> The L=a=n=g=u=a=g=e Book (1984): an anthology edited by Charles Bernstein and Bruce Andrews, collects the best poetry and essays from the earlier eponymous magazine

> In the American Tree (1986): an anthology edited by Ron Silliman

(3) 1990s: emergence of women language poets

Charles Bernstein (b. 1950)

- poet, critic, editor

- influential in making the language poetry popular

> ‘Thinking I Think I Think’

Lyn Hejinian (b. 1941)

- poet, essayist, prose writer

- argues for formally open experimental poetry without the necessity of a clear ending

> My Life (1980, 1987, 2002): an autobiographical amalgam of prose, poetry, and memoir

Michael Palmer (b. 1943)

> ‘Dearest Reader’

Ron Silliman (b. 1946)

Bruce Andrews (b. 1948)

Barrett Watten (b. 1948)

Základní údaje

  • Předmět

    North American Poetry 1945 - 2002.
  • Semestr

    Letní semestr 2008/09.
  • Vyučující

    Jiří Flajšar.
  • Status

    Volitelný seminář pro III. blok.


Flajšar, Jiří. Dějiny americké poezie. Ústí nad Orlicí: Oftis, 2006.

Jařab, Josef. American Poetry and Poets of Four Centuries. Praha: SPN, 1989.

Jařab, Josef, ed. Dítě na skleníku. Praha: Odeon, 1989.


© 2008-2015 Všechna práva vyhrazena.