English 100

Junior Seminar: American Objectivist Poets, 1928-1980

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2004 Hejinian, Lyn
Hejinian, Lyn
MW 12-2 109 Wheeler
Other Readings and Media

"Niedecker, Lorine: Collected Works; Oppen, George: New Collected Poems; Zukofsky, Louis: ""A""; Zukofsky, Louis: Complete Short Poetry "


"With strong literary affiliations to Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (and with political commitments thoroughly antithetical to those of Pound), the Objectivist Poets emerged as a group in a 1931 issue of Poetry magazine, guest edited by the group?s ostensible founder (or curator), Louis Zukofsky. Announcing their program, Zukofsky defined ""an objective"" as ""The lens bringing the rays from an object to a focus. That which is aimed at. ... Desire for what is objectively perfect, inextricably the direction of historic and contemporary particulars."" What such poetry looks like is, as we will see, enormously varies.

There are five central figures among the Objectivist Poets; while looking at the work of all of them, this course will focus primarily on the writings of George Oppen (1908-1984), Lorine Niedecker (1903-1970), and Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978). In order to read their works well (and in order to understand the reasons for their enormous influence on postmodern and contemporary experimental writing) we will consider this important facet of late Modernism in terms of methodology as well as technique. "

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