Donald Wellman

poet, editor, translator

Expressivity in Modern Poetry


“Immanence and expressivity are Donald Wellman’s watchwords in this bold and exhilarating account of literary modernism and its legacies.”
— Peter Nicholls, literary scholar and critic


Expressivity in Modern Poetry explores three interrelated subjects. The first is a general exposition of the radical or deeply realistic aspects of the poetry and visual arts of the modem period. The focus is on the works of Ezra Pound as understood through a prism of postmodern thought. The second subject is the poetry and poetics of Charles Olson, a pivotal figure during the transition from modernism to postmodenism. The third subject is contemporary innovative poetry with special attention to transcultural, neobarroco, and language-centered aspects of composition. The grounding for this section is found in the works of William Carlos Williams, Aimé Césaire, and Jose Lezama Lima. A reversal of the relation between the center and periphery-decentering the New York-to-Paris vector-is crucial for understanding  the Caribbean as a seedbed for both innovative and identity-based poetics. Wellman’s purpose is to amplify the cultural importance of expressivity in a field where critical discussion is often dominated by constructivism and conceptualism. Expressivity in Modern Poetry offers a new reading of the relation between twentieth-century modernism and contemporary poetic practice.


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