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A journal focusing on literature and literary topics for the academic audience.

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 2, Summer

"A Critical Sense Worthy of Respect": John Marston and the Early Poetics of Robert Penn Warren (1)
[O]ne only reads well when one reads with some quite personal goal in mind. It may be to acquire some power. It can be out of hatred for the author. -- Paul Valery (2) Deep art implies a destruction of order for the sake of reordering. There...
"Figured in Kinship": Rock, Hawk, and Dream in Warren's "Kentucky Mountain Farm" and Brother to Dragons
In a 1977 interview, Benjamin DeMott asked Robert Penn Warren if he had put the "episode" of Agrarianism and I'll Take My Stand in perspective. He responded with a brief definition of "what the Agrarians stood for," implying that he saw certain aspects...
Introduction: The Aesthetics of Robert Penn Warren
The dust has cleared, and no one left standing believes that politics and poetics are completely separable. That certain people ever held such a belief-more specifically, that the acclaimed poet, novelist, and scholar Robert Penn Warren ever held such...
Robert Penn Warren and the Poetics of (Im)purity
Robert Penn Warren's attacks on the notion of pure poetry began in his earliest critical writings but came into focus during the 1940s when his major critical essays were written and his own poetic practice was in transition. "Pure and Impure Poetry,"...
The Aesthetics of Absence and the Scopophilic Text: Robert Penn Warren's Meet Me in the Green Glen
In Meet Me in the Green Glen, Warren develops an aesthetic that privileges absence and exploits the limits of language to draw the reader into a landscape of loneliness so profound that few characters, and only the most careful and critical readers,...
The Conservative Aesthetic of Warren's Early Poetry
In a letter of November 1932, written to Allen Tate and Caroline Gordon, Robert Penn Warren launches into an uncharacteristic and curiously virulent attack on the literary critic C. Hartley Grattan for an essay titled "New Voices: The Promise of Our...
Walking So His Feet Don't Touch the Ground: Robert Penn Warren, the Regional Motive, and "Kentucky Mountain Farm"
"I have come to look upon poetry as a sort of escape from a good many things these days. I do not know whether it is due to my physical condition or not, but I find every other aspect of my existence intinitely wearying or worse." Robert Penn Warren...
Warren Reflects on the Discontinuities of His Poetic Career
Looking back on a poetic career is sometimes only a little different from looking back upon one's life, since both acts can turn on similar questions about one's take on life and the values by which one has sought to guide one's conduct. For one thing,...
Warren's Poetics of Sequence: The Case of Island of Summer
Dear Red, I have put off writing to you about the fine suite of poems entitled "Ile de Port Cros" until I have time to do a little rereading and meditation. Anyway, though they can stand a great deal more reading and I am far from having digested...
Warren's Recondite Vocabulary
Every now and then Warren slam dunks readers with unusual words that send them scampering for a dictionary. In rereading all of Warren's poems, I have encountered many words whose meanings are tough to guess at (even in context) or drawn from the less...
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