The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English

By Ian Hamilton | Go to book overview

O

OATES, Joyce Carol ( 1938- ), was born to working-class Catholic parents in rural Williamsville, New York, near Buffalo. She attended local public schools and Syracuse University, and received an MA in English at the University of Wisconsin. During the 1960s she taught at the University of Detroit and lived through the 1967 Detroit riots, which she vividly recreates in her National Book Award- winning novel them. While living and teaching in Windsor, Ontario, during the Seventies she began co-editing Ontario Review with her husband, Raymond Smith. Since 1977 she has taught at Princeton University, where she is currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities.

If this prolific author is known primarily for her powerful naturalistic fiction chronicling the turbulent lives of a wide array of American characters from the Thirties through the present, she is also a distinguished poetry critic and poet whose poetry extends her fictional exploration of the harsh American landscape and of psychic extremes. She has written provocative essays on such poets as Emily Dickinson, ⋆ Lawrence, ⋆ Plath, and ⋆ Dickey. The best of her poetry is collected in Invisible Woman: New and Selected Poems 1970-1982 ( Princeton, NJ, 1982) and The Time Traveler ( New York, 1989). If her earlier poems often seem diffuse and abstract, lacking the structure of her novels, attempting to capture the elusive lyric essence of passion rather than narrating its trajectory, those in her most recent collection are at once more structured and realistically grounded. The best of these include elegies to John Gardner, Raymond ⋆Carver, and William Goyen; a terse meditation on a Titian painting thumbnail sketches of a waitress (' Waiting on Elvis, 1956') and of boxer Mike Tyson; an ingenious pantoum on excessive gambling ( 'An Ordinary Morning in Las Vegas'); and numerous evocations of the New Jersey landscape, rural and industrial, the most poignant being, 'Night Driving', a celebration of the trucks and smokestacks on the New Jersey turnpike, valued because they represent the proximity of home.

[RMcP

Objectivism, was a movement associated with the work of William Carlos ⋆Williams, George ⋆Oppen, Louis ⋆Zukofsky, and Charles ⋆Reznikoff. In February 1931, ⋆ Poetry ( Chicago) brought out a special Objectivist issue edited by Zukofsky who specified as required reading William Spring and All, T. S. ⋆Eliot The Waste Land and 'Marina'. E. E. ⋆Cummings Is 5, Marianne ⋆Moore Observations, Wallace ⋆Stevens's Harmonium, and Ezra ⋆Pound XXX Cantos. A press was established in New York financed by Oppen, and in 1932 under the name 'To Publishers' it brought out An Objectivists' Anthology. Edited by Zukofsky, this included work by Williams, Oppen, Reznikoff, Carl ⋆ Rakosi, and Kenneth ⋆ Rexroth. Pound and Eliot were also represented. Shortly after this, 'To Publishers' became the Ojectivist Press, under the editorship of Zukofsky and Williams.

Recalling Objectivism in his Autobiography ( 1951). Williams described it as a rejection of ⋆Imagism: but, in fact, many of its priorities were similar. Like the Imagists, the Ojectivists were concerned with precision, with dramatized experience rather than statement, and with rhythms and cadences that were the

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The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction v
  • Selection of Anthologies xi
  • Key to Contributors xiv
  • Alphabetical List of Contributors xvii
  • A 1
  • B 28
  • C 80
  • D 113
  • E 143
  • F 156
  • G 179
  • H 206
  • I 247
  • J 251
  • K 266
  • L 284
  • M 318
  • N 375
  • O 393
  • P 407
  • Q 436
  • R 437
  • S 468
  • T 533
  • U 555
  • V 557
  • W 562
  • Y 593
  • Z 599
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