Charles Tomlinson and the Objective Tradition

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Bucknell University Press, 1994 - 271 pages
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"The poetry of Charles Tomlinson is distinguished by its respect for the world as objective fact - as set apart from human mythmaking, symbolizing, and egotistic projection. In Charles Tomlinson and the Objective Tradition, Richard Swigg examines the amazingly versatile speech and relationship that Tomlinson has brought to the concreteness of nature and city from the early poems of the 1940s up to the late 1980s by assessing the achievement within an Anglo-American tradition of factuality from which Tomlinson has drawn strength and which his work now illuminates." "Blake's gleaming particularities, Constable's "science" of painting, Ruskin's visual energy, Emerson's and Wordsworth's delight in humble solidities, Whitman's celebration of American facts - all belong to the lineage that, as Tomlinson's poetry reveals, takes on new expression in the modernism of Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore. This book traces Tomlinson's debt to Stevens and Moore in his poetry of the 1950s, but gives special attention to the larger influence and widening of range that the art of William Carlos Williams exerted on the poetry of the 1960s and after. Williams's sense of the local as a way into the universal touches a theme that has special significance for Tomlinson's Englishness and internationalism, particularly in the way that this double quality gives us new insight into the poetry of other Englishmen (Ivor Gurney and D. H. Lawrence in relation to Whitman; Edward Thomas in relation to Robert Frost) who also sought New World precisions to speak their nativeness." "The volume's close attention to the vocal grain and texture of many individual poems is especially marked in a chapter devoted to Tomlinson's politico-historical poems on Danton, Charlotte Corday, and Machiavelli. The poet not only provides a perspective on T. S. Eliot and Octavio Paz, but - in a poem about Trotsky's assassination - draws on the singular American quality of Orson Welles's Citizen Kane." "Swigg assesses Tomlinson's stature in post-war British poetry by contrasting his work with that of Philip Larkin and W. H. Auden and by demonstrating how much he shares with David Jones and Basil Bunting. The latter two, English internationalists of The Anathemata and Briggflatts, have, like Tomlinson, won their way home to a Britain of spiritual density and concreteness."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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