One Kind of EverythingPoem and Person in Contemporary America

One Kind of EverythingPoem and Person in Contemporary America

Dan Chiasson

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226103815

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book elucidates the uses of autobiography and constructions of personhood in American poetry since World War II, with reference to American literature in general since Ralph Waldo Emerson. Taking on one of the most crucial issues in American poetry of the last fifty years, the book explores what is lost or gained when real-life experiences are made part of the subject matter and source material for poetry. In five extended, scholarly essays, it looks specifically to bridge the chasm between formal and experimental poetry in the United States. Regardless of form, the book argues that recent American poetry is most thoughtful when it engages most forcefully with autobiographical material, either in an effort to embrace it or denounce it.