“Lyric Dissent” discusses the social structure and context of lyric address, particularly the lyric's propensity for multiple voicings beyond the personal. Reading the poems of William Carlos Williams in the context of modernism's evolving countertraditions and the violent backdrop of the First and Second World Wars, this essay reconsiders the pressures within lyric poetry to respond to—or reveal—the pressures of global politics on poetry in times of war. How can the labor of a poem be measured against the demands of paid labor and of political action? Can the treatment of such issues suggest a generational coherence within diverse and dissenting practices?

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