Modern American Literature      The Language We Use



The three principal genre of literature -- the basic definitions and distinctions:

poetry; drama; narrative [prose]

Modes of narrative

Empirical (historical & mimetic)

Fictional (romantic & didactic)

Eye where? Where reader? Truth vs. beauty or goodness/ideal.

Lyric poetry

Vignettes of character

meditations (meditative poetry)

pastoral poetry


irony as sole/principal mode (Edgar Lee Masters) or occasional mode (Robinson)

Rhyme and repetition

The importance of the speaker/persona of the poem

"process" poetry

refresh the mundane

dense, compact, and original

the effect (on reader) of dialogue

cerebral poetry

to contemplate the objects of our own imaginative/intellectual construction




What does the poem/narrative require us to bring to it, to know beforehand?

The search for order: do we find it in nature, in familiar objects, in our imaginations or reasoning             powers, in the past, in canonical literature, among the ancients, in myths, etc.?

Meaning in poetry is like the burglar's meat for the housedog.

The Objective Correlative -- "emotion!" cf. "imagisme"-- "an intellectual and emotional complex          in an instant of time."


Objective reality -- objectivism; imagisme

states of consciousness

Melapoeia, Phanopoeia, Logopoeia

the significance of the title!

aesthetic properties -- what about the piece might be called "beautiful"? (see MPL, above) Aubrey        Beardsley said "beauty is difficult."  Philip Sydney said "all art aspires to the condition of            music." What do you say?

Which poet and/or poems do you prefer? How does your selections compare to(and clarify) your          favorite narratives/novelists? What properties do you prefer, including those not embodied         by your selected authors/examples?

What terms and insights can you add to this list?