Albert Gelpi has now completed his critical trilogy on US poetry, a project nearly fifty years in the making. The trilogy—composed of The Tenth Muse: The Psyche of the American Poet (1975), A Coherent Splendor: The American Poetic Renaissance, 1910–1950 (1987), and this present book, American Poetry after Modernism: The Power of the Word (2015)—is a rare scholarly enterprise. It closely examines high points in American poetic history from Edward Taylor to Susan Howe. I can think of a handful of similarly ambitious projects over the years: Roy Harvey Pearce’s The Continuity of American Poetry (1961), Hyatt Waggoner’s American Poets: From the Puritans to the Present (1968), Edwin Fussell’s Lucifer in Harness: American Meter, Metaphor, and Diction (1973), and Mutlu Konuk Blasing’s American Poetry: The Rhetoric of Its Forms (1987). But none of these was published recently, and none took three volumes and almost a half-century to complete. None has...
American Poetry After Modernism: The Power of the Word by Albert Gelpi
Steven Gould Axelrod is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. Among his publications are Robert Lowell: Life and Art, Sylvia Plath: The Wound and the Cure of Words, The New Anthology of American Poetry, volumes 1–3 (with Camille Roman and Thomas Travisano), and a forthcoming edition of Robert Lowell’s Memoirs (with Grzegorz Kość).
Steven Gould Axelrod; American Poetry After Modernism: The Power of the Word by Albert Gelpi. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 March 2017; 63 (1): 94–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3833523
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