16 feb. 2009

Here's an experiment. I need this info for an article. (I'm trying to see how idiosyncratic my own views are.)

Without looking at anyone else's comment first, write down a list of the 5 most major modernist poets, writing in any language. That is, don't confine your answers to poets writing in English (unless that is your view, that the five majorest poets of modernism all wrote in English). Then write a comment with this information. Use your own working definition of "modernist," your own time frame, your own definition of "major" and "poet." Your own definition of the word "most." I have my own list on a piece of paper here.

12 comentarios:

Andrew Shields dijo...

This evening, I'll go with:


Tomorrow I might come up with a different list, or maybe not!

Joseph Duemer dijo...


R. dijo...


(oops that's six -- maybe Celan's something other than a modernist...)

Joseph Duemer dijo...

On second thought, I'd probably want to shoehorn WCW in there somehow.

Jordan dijo...

Apollinaire / Moore / WCW (3-way tie)
Eliot / Stein
Mayakowsky / Lorca (2-way tie)

Modernist apparently for me means flourishing sometime between 1910 and 1940, closer to 1910. Immediacy, a combination of the present tense and urgency, is a greater achievement of modernism than creating effects through repetition, allusion and generally straining the will to sense; but that's a big deal too. I'm not sure how much more modern than Baudelaire and Rimbaud Mayakowsky and Lorca are. (Or for that matter Rilke.) The major poets of a time don't necessarily create the acknowledged blockbusters, or even the sleeper hits, but they do sound absolutely alive, always and forever. Maybe not in all their work, but for a while at least.

An interesting counterfactual game: erase the French pre-modernists and see what your 20th century looks like, then try the same thing erasing Dickinson or Whitman. (Advanced level: erase Norwid, or Holderlin.)

jane dijo...

Stein, Pound, Apollinaire, Khlebnikov, WC Williams.

word verification: scion

Thomas Basbøll dijo...

Ezra Pound
T.S. Eliot
WC Williams
Pablo Neruda
Andre Breton

Jonathan dijo...

My original names were EliotLorcaRilkePessoaCavafy.

Eliot, because he was so influential and well known during the actual modenist period, not because he is my own favorite.

Jordan dijo...

So then, what does major mean to you?

Jonathan dijo...

I'm trying to figure that out. I think it means "super canonical." Not just part of the canon or reading list but authors taken up by other major authors, in the way Tabucchi takes up Pessoa or Spicer Lorca. If you take a supercanoncal writer out of the picture, you get a contrafactual situation, where the rest of literary history doesn't make sense any more.

TT dijo...

Pound, Rilke, Stein, Rimbaud, Cesaire.

That was tough. Before I listed, I was certain Yeats, WCW & Stevens would be there.

I suppose I was thinking of what figures would best express my sense of modernism as a turbulence connecting what came before to what came after. Feel free to insert scare quotes anywhere in here. Maybe my five leans a little much towards the 'after' . . .

John dijo...

I gave up on the list of five. I considered most of the people named by others, except Pound and Mandelstam, the latter because I don't know his stuff enough. Only person from the period that I considered who's not on others' lists is Tagore, who fits Jonathan's criteria, seems to me.