The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry

The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry

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274 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches
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“[I]f this book makes one thing clear, it’s that the avant-garde is not something you decide to put on like a new dress; instead it is an active and necessary response to a historical and aesthetic moment. In other words, the strength of these writers is that they will never occupy a center, a ‘main’ stream. Instead their poems make audible the polyglot rumbling and roaring on the periphery.”—Women's Review of Books

“Informed and insightful, this fascinating study of a feminist avant-garde tradition in poetry of the last century is both important and, because experimental work is now dramatically reshaping poetry in English, timely.”—Lynn Keller, professor of English, University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Feminist Avant-Garde in American Poetry offers a historical and theoretical account of avant-garde women poets in America from the 1910s through the 1990s and asserts an alternative tradition to the predominantly male-dominated avant-garde movements. Elisabeth Frost argues that this alternative lineage distinguishes itself by its feminism and its ambivalence toward existing avant-garde projects; she also thoroughly explores feminist avant-garde poets' debts and contributions to their male counterparts.

Table of contents: 




Part I: Women Poets and the Historical Avant-Gardes

1. “Replacing the Noun”: Fetishism, Parody, and Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons

2. “Crisis in Consciousness”: Mina Loy’s “Anglo-Mongrels and the Rose”

Part II: Agendas of Race and Gender

3. “a fo / real / revolu / shun”: Sonia Sanchez and the Black Arts Movement

Part III: Traditions of Marginality

4. “Unsettling” America: Susan Howe and Antinomian Tradition

5. “Belatedly Beladied Blues”: Hybrid Traditions in the Poetry of Harryette Mullen



Works Cited