To shrink the confines: Anglophone poetry, political economy and the space of history, 1947-2007
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Less a comprehensive survey than an inquiry into discrete but articulated moments in Anglophone poetry from 1947 to 2007, this dissertation examines the emergence and enduring legacy of Black Mountain Poetry and the British Poetry Revival with close attention to the triangulated transatlantic relationship between Charles Olson, Edward Dorn and J.H. Prynne. For each of these poets questions concerning the mutually constitutive character of political economy, cultural production and constructions of space were at all times primary if not always front and center. Writing during the zenith and through the twilight of Fordism, Olson's philologically oriented poetics immediately informed the work of Dorn and Prynne, but the extent to which Dorn and Prynne draw from Olson's accomplishment is far from passive. Rigorously recalibrating Olson's process-based projective poetics to suit the demands of their own moment, Dorn and Prynne aspire on the terrain of the cultural to attend to the failures that signal the decline of Fordism and the concurrent ascendancy of flexible accumulation from the late 1960s onward. As such, their work engages a rich variety of shared concerns later taken up by poets associated with a wide range of radical tendencies in writing such as Language Writing, New Narrative and a considerable number of other poetries identified with the Bay Area, New York, London and Cambridge University. Without overstating the influence of Olson, Dorn and Prynne on subsequent writing practices, this project locates their work within a genealogy of poetic responses to questions concerning the relation of language and space to the shifting coordinates of economic accumulation from the postwar period of high Fordism through to the economic collapse that so violently punctuated the first decade of the twenty-first century.