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What is It Between Us: Traditions of Love in American Poetry (Paperback)

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"What is it then between us?" Walt Whitman asks in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry". In this generous, imaginative study, Eric Murphy Selinger uses Whitman's question to open a welcome new perspective on American poetry. From Anne Bradstreet to Adrienne Rich and James Merrill, Selinger contends, American poets have seen issues in poetics -- the poem "between us" -- as inextricable from questions of love.

Tracing the solitude of the American self, the difference between idolatrous and companionate affection, and the dream of an "America of love", Selinger shows how such concerns can shape a poet's most intimate decisions about genre and form. His lucid, elegant prose illuminates not only well-known love poets, including Emily Dickinson and William Carlos Williams, but also more unexpected figures, notably Wallace Stevens and Mina Loy.

Like the poets he discusses, Selinger refuses to view love reductively. Rather, he takes the impulse to debunk love as part of his subject, whether it crops up in Puritan theology or contemporary literary theory. As he details Whitman's courtship of his readers, weighs the restorations of romance in H. D. and Ezra Pound, and demonstrates the bonds between poets as disparate as Robert Creeley and Robert Lowell, Selinger establishes love poetry as an essential American genre.

Specifications

Publisher Cornell University Press
Mfg Part# 9780801484667
SKU 203988504
Format Paperback
ISBN10 0801484669
Release Date 8/13/2012
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