The Selected Letters of George Oppen

The Selected Letters of George Oppen

Book Pages: 471 Illustrations: Published: March 1990

General Interest > Biography, Letters, Memoirs, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

Objectivist poet George Oppen (1908–1984), along with his contemporaries Lorine Niedecker, Charles Reznikoff, and Carl Rakoski, provide an important bridge between the vanguard modernist American poets and the later works of poets such as Robert Creeley. In work often compounded by the populist urbanity of city lives, the Objectivists explored the social statements poetry can make. Because Oppen wrote only one essay and one essay-review, his correspondence, in effect, constitutes his essays. Oppen is emerging as one of the major poets of the postwar era; he was the recipient of an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award, the PEN/West Rediscovery Award, and a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His collection Of Being Numerous received the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
These working papers include a rich correspondence, letters which provide access to the sustained, perceptive body of critical and aesthetic thinking of Oppen’s poetic career. Provocative and witty comments on poetry and poetics, especially interesting for the development of an Objectivist aesthetics, and shrewd, deeply felt assessments about the politics of the twentieth century and its moral dilemmas are some of the issues attended to. This edition offers primary documentation about an influential poetics, a little-known movement, and its active figures. Given the aggressive studies of the politics of canon-formation, the interest in describing a historical context for individual literary achievement, and current debates about mainstream poetry, the rethinking of the Objectivist movement, and the collection of documents contributing to its poetics, is an important achievement in literary scholarship.



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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Rachel Blau DePlessis is Professor of English at Temple University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Introduction vii

Editorial Comments xxi

Acknowledgments xxix

1931–1934 1

1958 7

1959 18

1960 36

1961 44

1962 55

1963 76

1964 97

1965 109

1966 126

1967 150

1968 172

1969 182

1970 206

1971 223

1972 234

1973 251

1974 273

1975 295

1976 315

1977 332

1978 343

1979–1981 346

Correspondents 354

Notes 363

Index 427
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Winner, 1992 Choice Outstanding Academic Books

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1024-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1017-4
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