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(1.6) Deep Image School

- the movement rebelled against the Formalist poetry and was prominent between 1950s and 1960s

- anticipated by such poems as Adrienne Rich's "Diving into the Wreck"

- centred the poems around deep images which were supposed to evoke certain shared stereotypical associations

- drew images out of the bottomless abbeys of one's deepest self, sought to represent original primaeval images

- produced abstract, vague, irrational, even oblique poetry influenced by surrealist approaches

- nicknamed the "stone and bone" poetry for its favourite subjects

- believed that descends into one's primitive archetypal self would appeal to any reader, which did not turn out to be so

- by 1970s the movement was dissolved and the poets turned to different modes of writing

James Dickey (1923 - 1997)

> "In the Tree House at Night" (Drowning with Others, 1962):

- tries to merge and become one with nature in the Transcendentalist mode

- examines the relationship of brothers and the relationships between the dead and the living

- the title refers to the tree at which the dead brother was apparently buried

> "The Heaven of Animals" (Drowning with Others, 1962):

- in a similarly Transcendentalist mode as the former poem

- relates the life of animals to that of plants

Robert Bly (b. 1926)

- known both as a poet and as a civil right activist protesting against the Vietnam war

- in last years wrote a book celebrating masculinity

> "Driving toward the Lac Qui Parle River" (Silence in the Snowy Fields, 1962):

- a Deep Image driving poem following the speaker's journey through Minnesota

- the name of the river is identical with the name of the town in Minnesota where the poet was born

- contrasts the small world of the car and the larger world outside

- resembles James Wright's country poems, but Bly's series of images gives a sense of something missing here

- also resembles Richard Hugo's poems, but Bly presents no relation of the observed environment to the speaker

> "The Great Society" (The Light Around the Body, 1967):

- not primarily a Deep Image poem, rather a general 1960s America society critical poem

- the title refers to one of the government policies meant to provide more support for more poor people

- criticizes the American society and gives a deep sense of something being wrong in here

- depicts the society in which pleasure is no more enjoyed and leisure activities no more exist

- gives a series of juxtaposed images of a whole range of different people from different classes and different sceneries

James Wright (1927 - 1980)

> "The Jewel":

- descends into the dark impenetrable areas of one's mind

- uses typical trademark words of the Deep Image School like "bones", "silence", or "fire"

- develops an image of a private zone around one's body that resists all intrusion and remains firm as a jewel

W(illiam) S(tanley) Merwin (b. 1927)

> "The Night of the Shirts":

- an extreme example of a Deep Image poem showing the impenetrability of this mode of writing

- unlike e.g. Gertrude Stein does not give new meanings to conventional words but rather obscures the meanings

Charles Simic (b. 1938)

> "Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk" (Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk, 1974):

- a surrealist Deep Image poem, may be seen as a love poem

- develops the image of hands: hands at night, hands resting from work, joining hands

Základní údaje

  • Předmět

    North American Poetry 1945 - 2002.
  • Semestr

    Zimní 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.


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