Poems for the Millennium - Vol. 3

Poems for the Millennium - Vol. 3

Poems for the Millennium - Vol. 3

Poems for the Millennium - Vol. 3

Synopsis

The previous two volumes of this acclaimed anthology set forth a globally decentered revision of twentieth-century poetry from the perspective of its many avant-gardes. Now editors Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson bring a radically new interpretation to the poetry of the preceding century, viewing the work of the romantic and post-romantic poets as an international, collective, often utopian enterprise that became the foundation of experimental modernism. Global in its range, volume three gathers selections from the poetry and manifestos of canonical poets, as well as the work of lesser-known but equally radical poets. Defining romanticism as experimental and visionary, Rothenberg and Robinson feature prose poetry, verbal-visual experiments, and sound poetry, along with more familiar forms seen here as if for the first time. The anthology also explores romanticism outside the European orbit and includes ethnopoetic and archaeological works outside the literary mainstream. The range of volume three and its skewing of the traditional canon illuminate the process by which romantics and post- romantics challenged nineteenth-century orthodoxies and propelled poetry to the experiments of a later modernism and avant-gardism.

Excerpt

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
again
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

A Book of Continuities & Ruptures

Lying behind the present gathering is a sense that the most radical and experimental works of our time—in poetry and across the arts—belong to a continuity that stretches back two centuries and more, along with a presentiment of the dark turn the world has again taken in the new century and millennium opening before us. The time, it seems to us, is ready for a reassessment of where we are and where we’ve come from—a new mapping that will stress connections, too often denied, while paying equal attention to the conflicts within the lineage we’re tracing. At the heart of our imaginings, as we look back over the last two centuries of poetry and life, is a romanticism that can, along with the modernism that follows, still come over—fresh—as an amazing mix of attitudes and directives.

The nineteenth century begins again: nationalism, colonialism and imperialism, ethnic and religious violence, growing extremes of wealth and poverty, all reemerge today and with a virulence that calls up their earlier nineteenth-century versions and all the physical and mental struggles against them, struggles in which poetry and poets took a sometimes central part. With these dire connections to the nineteenth century we can see, as an instance of that “mental fight,” a linking of an experimental Romanticism to its modern and postmodern counterparts. In poetry the struggle occurred, as it did in the century that followed, as convulsive . . .

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