By Clemens Spahr
Tackling themes comparable to globalization and political activism, this e-book lines engaged poetics in twentieth century American poetry. Spahr offers a entire view of activist poetry, beginning with the good melancholy and the Harlem Renaissance and relocating to the Beats and modern writers comparable to Amiri Baraka and Mark Nowak.
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Extra info for A Poetics of Global Solidarity: Modern American Poetry and Social Movements
26 ● A Poetics of Global Solidarity Giovannitti’s poetic production after Arrows in the Gale has received little critical attention, even though these poems were widely published and noted. In “May Day in Moscow,” printed in The Liberator in 1921 and placed prominently in the center of a page by its editor Max Eastman, Giovannitti offers a politicized variety of Imagism when he celebrates “Red flags licking like flames the fold of the great dome” (“May Day in Moscow” 7). The more predictable celebration of the Russian revolution in poems such as these is accompanied by a celebration of women activists in many of Giovannitti’s other poems.
By bringing together the poems and lyrics discussed in this chapter, I focus on an important strand in contemporary American poetic expression that searches for poetic communities and links poetic expression to broader cultural and social movements. These texts show that the desire to connect poetic expression and political activism and social movements persists. The conclusion returns to Adrienne Rich’s diagnosis of a postmodernity characterized by political apathy. In “Benjamin Revisited” from her last collection Tonight No Poetry Will Serve (2011), Rich replaces Benjamin’s angel of history with a janitor sweeping away the remnants of history and political engagement, “stoking/ the so-called past/ into the so-called present” (17).
Green 81). Dos Passos’s dormitory scene is representative of the public singing of lyrics in the 1910s, as well as the distribution of poems and the circulation of poem cards (cf. Nelson, Revolutionary Memory 28–36), which turned poetic expression into a literary instrument in the service of social change. Dos Passos’s account also sheds light on the role and influence of the public poet in this era. A. march, was Arturo Giovannitti (1884–1959). Born into a relatively well-situated family in the poor region of what is now Molise in southern Italy, Giovannitti studied theology at McGill University in Montreal before moving to the United States, where he soon became a tremendously successful labor activist and helped coordinate the Lawrence textile strike with fellow trade union organizer Joseph Ettor.