In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde

In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde

In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde

In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde


"This is the first major theoretical study of the four main figures of the New York School: John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. Proposing a reinterpretation of the definition of the avant-garde, William Watkin describes it as a movement typified by its commitment to art in process, over the final art product. In a series of in-depth, and wide-reaching, readings, he then goes on to test this assertion in detailed relation to the poetry of the New York School, while also examining how the poets' own work further develops and analyses the concept of the avant-garde in contemporary culture." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


—Marinetti, “We Abjure Our Symbolist Masters,
the Last Lovers of the Moon”

Thought is made in the mouth.

—Tzara, “Monsieur AA The Antiphilosopher
Sends us His Manifesto”

Particles of speech. Parts of movement. Words do not exist; there are only
movements in space and their parts

—Khlebnikov, “Zangezi”

I write because it is natural like I piss like I’m ill.… We are looking
for a straightforward pure sober unique force we are looking for
NOTHING we affirm the VITALITY of every instant.…

—Tzara, “Unpretentious Proclamation”

The word leads a double life. Sometimes it simply grows like a plant
whose fruit is a geode of sonorous stones clustering around it; in this
case the sound element lives a self-sufficient life, while the particle of
sense named by the word stands in shadow. At other times the word is
subservient to sense… sound becomes merely a “name” and humbly
carries out the commands of sense.…

—Khlebnikov, “On Contemporary Poetry”

Only the unsyntactical poet who unlinks his words can penetrate the
essence of matter and destroy the dumb hostility that separates it from us

—Marinetti, “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Literature”

After you have settled yourself in a place as favorable as possible to the con
centrations of your mind upon itself, have writing materials brought to
you. Put yourself in as passive, or receptive, a state of mind as you can.…
Keep reminding yourself that literature is one of the saddest roads that
leads to everything. Write quickly, without any preconceived subject, fast
enough so that you will not remember what you ‘re writing.… Go on as
long as you like. Put your trust in the inexhaustible nature of the murmur

—Breton, “Manifesto of Surrealism”

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