From Language Poetry to the New Concretism: The Evolution of the Avant-Garde
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- Author: Marjorie Perloff
- About the author:
Marjorie Perloff, PhD in English, Sadie Dernham Patek Professor of Humanities, Emerita, Stanford University, Serra Mall 450, CA 94305 Stanford, USA.
The article examines the trajectory of the Western avant-garde in the 20th century, in connection with the group formations characteristic of these movements. Movements such as the Russian avant-garde and European Dadaism are classified according to various criteria, and their rise and fall is traced. After a broad overview of avant-garde movements, the first part of the essay analyzes the cases of the modern avant-garde movement “Language Poetry”. The article then goes on to detail the theoretical principles of the “language movement” founded in the late 1970s, and then explore how this radical movement has developed over the past twenty years. Language poetics, closely associated with French poststructuralist aesthetics and Marxist ideology, was gradually assimilated into the mainstream, and its stylistic features were absorbed into more traditional modes. The movement is now mostly over, but it has produced a number of important poets such as Susan Howe and Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian and Steve McCaffery. These poets now associate themselves outside the language movement they used to be part of and are eventually arriving their own styles. In the last part of the article, the author refers to the Latin American movement of concretism as a phenomenon that synthesizes the achievements of the Russian and European avant-garde and the American neo-avant-garde.
- Keywords: avant-garde, community, language poetry, concretism.
- For citation:
Perloff, Marjorie. “From Language Poetry to the New Concretism: The Evolution of the Avant-Garde.” Literature of the Americas, no. 12 (2022): 10–36. https://doi.org/10.22455/2541-7894-2022-12-10-36
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