Term Paper: Post Modern British and American Poetry

Pages: 4 (1091 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … postmodernism, author Peter Jacoby (1999) provided insights about and definitions of postmodernism as it relates to the art of poetry. Among these definitions of the postmodernist tradition in literature, the following quote embodied the nature of postmodernist poetry at present:

Truth is the product of interpretation, facts are constructs of discourse, objectivity is just whatever questionable interpretation of things has currently seized power, and the human subject is as much a section as the reality he or she contemplates, a diffused, self-divided entity without any fixed nature or essence.

In this passage, postmodernism was illustrated as a deviation from the modernist tradition of rational and objective thinking. Postmodernism advocates people's capability to express themselves in any form possible, whether these thoughts are logically sound or not. Indeed, postmodernist literature, especially when applied in the field of poetry, is a work in transition, a reflection of one's thoughts unbounded by the rules that govern poetry and human thinking. In fact, postmodernism is accorded the same treatment as modernism had when it first emerged: it was considered non-literary, but had managed to immerse itself as one of the dominant genres in literature for the past century. Postmodernist poetry, despite its being non-literary and sometimes, "anti-poetic," in form, structure, and principle, is still considered part of the ever-changing nature of written literature. And since postmodernism effectively portrays the state of human conditions for the 21st century society, it remains true to the promise that poetry helps convey the nature of human feelings and thoughts. For years to come, postmodernism would become acknowledged as another form of literary genre that marked humanity's progress towards intellectual development through the years.

Emily Dickinson's poetry reflects the return of Romanticism in the period of postmodernism. Identified as Neo-Romanticism, this new movement in postmodernist poetry reflected her contemplative thoughts on life, love, and religious beliefs. These themes were reflections of the earlier literary movement Romanticism, and Dickinson's utilization of these themes helped her poetry be categorized under the genre associated with Romanticism. However, her poetry is Neo-Romanticist in that she also incorporated non-literary elements in her poetry, such as not using the conventional structure commonly associated and used in traditional poetry. Her use of broken lines of verse in her poems was a technique uncommon in the poetical tradition, although this uncommon technique helped emphasize Dickinson's meaning that she wanted to convey in the poem.

Similarly, Walt Whitman's use of the free-flow form and structure and discussion of sexually blatant issues as themes in his poetry illustrated how he was one of the best examples of poetry exemplified in the postmodernist tradition. Similar to Dickinson's use of unconventional poetical structure, Whitman's style helped propel him to popularity from the modernist to postmodernist periods.

Because of these similarities in Whitman's and Dickinson's poetry, both poets are considered one of the early proponents of postmodernist poetry. They truly embody the spirit of poetry through the years because they were able to fuse the traditional themes commonly experienced by human nature and convey their messages through non-traditional, even radical, means (i.e., by altering the poetical structure of their poems).


Postmodernism, being a movement that centers on its subjective, liberal expression of an individual's thoughts and feelings, and oftentimes, mundane quality, delve into themes… [END OF PREVIEW]

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