The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry (Wesleyan Poetry Series)
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Since issuing its first volumes in 1959, the Wesleyan poetry program has challenged the reigning aesthetic of the time and profoundly influenced the development of American poetry. One of the country’s oldest programs, its greatest achievement has been the publication of early works by yet undiscovered poetry who have since become major awarded Pulitzer and Bollingen prizes, National Book Awards, and many other honors. At a time when other programs are being phased out, Wesleyan takes this opportunity to celebrate its distinguished history and reaffirm its commitment to poetry with publication of The Wesleyan Tradition.
Drawing from some 250 volumes, editor Michael Collier documents the wide-ranging impact of these works. In his introduction, he describes the literary and cultural context of American poetics in more recent decades, tracing the evolution of the Deep Image and Confessional movements of the 50s and 60s, and exploring the emergence of the “prose lyric” style. Although the success of the Wesleyan program has inspired its share of imitators, no other program has had such a fundamental impact. Works by the eighty-six poets included her both document and celebrate that contribution.
Discovered comfort from the cold, And found it politic to hold A warming world against him, though he told Corinna's maid to call him well before The King would ride, and time itself return. The lovers closeted apace And fell together—an embrace That gathered each unbidden sense to grace, Though not the kind Corinna's fan could learn. Thereat the summons of a little bell Inconsiderately spread Silver tumult overhead. Corinna laughed, and tidied up her bed; The laureate subsided with the swell. In
France, efficient, safe, and banal. Mirrors double in the English Channel. One reflection has her own statistics; One has patently an extra funnel. She, that other, follows where the real Distorts her; just below the water, just, But only just, describable—her past Already idiom, her loss detail. Imperfectly, the structured meaning lost And connotation gone, hers, nonetheless, Prevail. Time is the steward of decor. In auctioned fittings that no longer are, Persists the image that forever is:
and working classes, as it carried the "news" all Americans needed to hear about their country. In the broadest sense many of the early Wesleyan poets represented the democratization of poetry that was taking place through the creative writing programs in American universities and colleges. Justice, Levine, Donald Petersen, and William Dickey, all early Wesleyan poets, had been members of the same poetry-writing workshop at the University of Iowa in the mid-fifties. The tie, though not a causal
pain we were powerless to ease, this poem for the present. It cannot recall the explosion or quicken the earth bound body or make any single past present to be changed or lived again. Poems are crafted thought, channelled feeling and now . . . Now. Yes, and living set in one moment of timeless 136 Second Decade time always and love. We hope it is not too late: Love. We rock you in the cradle of our soul. Sherley Williams, 1975 The Lost Pilot For my father, 1922-1944 Your face did not rot
escaping through rose-stained windows the smoke of women's hair moving among men the dew rising from fields in solid, shining points And in the end, my thoughts always returned to you, Dante to the dissatisfactions that had hovered between us like small grey clouds Then gradually you fell away into the cold blankness of time became otherworldly so I could no longer understand but your poems your gift to me on the first day of my death they stayed with me they were there next to my cheek something