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Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry 1940s Poetic Movements The Black Mountain Poets are a school of poetry from the 1940's centered at Black Mountain College North Carolina which promoted open form and was spawned in an environment attempting to create the ideal community. Also call projectivist poets, they based the frame of their poetry on the line, referred to as an utterance or a breath. Poetry Guide Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov were a few of the Black Mountain Poets. Passage Over Water by Robert Duncan We have gone out in boats upon the sea at night, lost, and the vast waters close traps of fear about us. The boats are driven apart, and we are alone at last under the incalculable sky, listless, diseased with stars. Let the oars be idle, my love, and forget at this time our love like a knife between us defining the boundaries that we can never cross nor destroy as we drift into the heart of our dream, cutting the silence, slyly, the bitter rain in our mouths and the dark wound closed in behind us. Forget depth-bombs, death and promises we made, gardens laid waste, and, over the wastelands westward, the rooms where we had come together bombed. But even as we leave, your love turns back. I feel your absence like the ringing of bells silenced. And salt over your eyes and the scales of salt between us. Now, you pass with ease into the destructive world. There is a dry crash of cement. The light fails, falls into the ruins of cities upon the distant shore and within the indestructible night I am alone. Ciaro Poets were a group of poets based in North Africa during World War II. Kieth Douglas and Lawence Durrell were part of the group. Cairo Jag by Keith Douglas Shall I get drunk or cut myself a piece of cake, a pasty Syrian with a few words of English or the Turk who says she is a princess--she dances apparently by levitation? Or Marcelle, Parisienne always preoccupied with her dull dead lover: she has all the photographs and his letters tied in a bundle and stamped Decede in mauve ink. All this takes place in a stink of jasmine. But there are the streets dedicated to sleep stenches and the sour smells, the sour cries do not disturb their application to slumber all day, scattered on the pavement like rags afflicted with fatalism and hashish. The women offering their children brown-paper breasts dry and twisted, elongated like the skull, Holbein's signature. But his stained white town is something in accordance with mundane conventions- Marcelle drops her Gallic airs and tragedy suddenly shrieks in Arabic about the fare with the cabman, links herself so with the somnambulists and legless beggars: it is all one, all as you have heard. But by a day's travelling you reach a new world the vegetation is of iron dead tanks, gun barrels split like celery the metal brambles have no flowers or berries and there are all sorts of manure, you can imagine the dead themselves, their boots, clothes and possessions clinging to the ground, a man with no head has a packet of chocolate and a souvenir of Tripoli. New Apocalypse Poets were a group of 1940s poets who rejected the classicism of Auden. "Their work was wild, turbulent and surrealist." (Poet's Graveyard) Some of the poets were Dylan Thomas, James Findlay Hendry, George Barker, Henry Treece and G.S.Fraser. They were in direct opposition with the Movement poets. The Waiting Watchers by Henry Treece They shall come in the black weathers From the heart of the dead embers, Walking one and two over the hill. And they shall be with you, never farther Than your bedside. At their will The smell of putrefaction lingers And floor is carpeted with rotting hair; Or sheets are torn to shreds By the beaks of dead dry birds And the red blood clots in your cup. Put up your swords! What steel can cut the throat of next year's dream, What tongue is tunes to speak last night's quick scream? Go alone by darkness; Burn the clippings of your nail; Donate a thousand candles. But do as you will, When sun is blind and lamps are lit once more, Two and one, they shall be standing At your door. Objectivists was more a 20th century community of poets than a movement. This group of poets were inspired by Ezra Pound, WC Williams, and the Imagist Movement. Zukofsky who founded this group defined objectivism as sincerity and objectification. Some of the poets were Basil Bunting, Carl Rakosi, George Oppen, Charles Reznikoff, and Louis Zukofsky. From Odes: Chorus of Furies by Basil Bunting Let us come upon him first as if in a dream, anonymous triple presence, memory made substance and tally of heart's rot: then in the waking Now be demonstrable, seem sole aspect of being's essence, coffin to the living touch, self's Iscariot. Then he will loath the year's recurrent long caress without hope of divorce, envying idiocy's apathy or the stress of definite remorse. He will lapse into a half-life lest the taut force of the mind's eagerness recall those fiends or new apparitions endorse his excessive distress. He will shrink, his manhood leave him, slough self aware the last skin of the flayed: despair. He will nurse his terror carefully, uncertain even of death's solace, impotent to outpace dispersion of the soul, disruption of the brain.
Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry 1950s Poetic Movements Beat Poetry Confessional Verse The Group isn't really a school or movement but simply a regular gatherings of poets in the mid 1950s that included Ted Hughes, Peter Redgrove, George MacBeth, Edward Lucie-Smith and the founders Philip Hobsbaum and his wife. God of Love by George MacBeth The musk-ox is accustomed to near-Arctic conditions. When danger threatens, these beasts cluster together to form a defensive wall, or a "porcupine", with the calves in the middle. Dr Wolfgang Engelhart I found them between far hills, by a frozen lake. On a patch of bare ground. They were grouped In a solid ring, like an ark of horn. And around Them circled, slowly closing in, Their tongues lolling, their ears flattened against the wind, A whirlpool of wolves. As I breathed, one fragment of bone and Muscle detached itself from the mass and Plunged. The pad of the pack slackened, as if A brooch had been loosened. But when the bull Returned to the herd, the revolving collar was tighter. And only The windward owl, uplifted on white wings In the glass of air, alert for her young, Soared high enough to look into the cleared centre And grasp the cause. To the slow brain Of each beast by the frozen lake what lay in the cradle of their crowned Heads of horn was a sort of god-head. Its brows Nudged when the arc was formed. Its need Was a delicate womb away from the iron collar Of death, a cave in the ring of horn Their encircling flesh had backed with fur. That the collar of death Was the bone of their own skulls: that a softer womb Would open between far hills in a plunge Of bunched muscles: and that their immortal calf lay Dead on the snow with its horns dug into The ice for grass: they neither saw nor felt. And yet if That hill of fur could split and run like a river Of ice in thaw, like a broken grave It would crack across the icy crust of withdrawn Sustenance and the rigid circle Of death be shivered: the fed herd would entail its under-fur On the swell of a soft hill and the future be sown On grass, I thought. But the herd fell By the bank of the lake on the plain, and the pack closed, And the ice remained. And I saw that the god In their ark of horn was a god of love, who made them die. Movement Poets of the 20th century were known to be anti-poetic, sardonic and witty. Some Movement poets were Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, D. J. Enright, John Wain and Robert Conquest. It is much harder to find poems in the public domain by these contemporary poets. Home is So Sad by Philip Larkin Home is so sad. It stays as it was left, Shaped to the comfort of the last to go As if to win them back. Instead, bereft Of anyone to please, it withers so, Having no heart to put aside the theft And turn again to what it started as, A joyous shot at how things ought to be, Long fallen wide. You can see how it was: Look at the pictures and the cutlery. The music in the piano stool. That vase. San Francisco Renaissance is an umbrella term for the hodgepodge of poets and artistic communities that came out of the San Francisco Bay Area after World War II through the late 40's, 50's and 60s. The Beat movement, Black Mountain poets, Black Arts etc. although often on opposing sides artistically and politically, all reflected the Pacific coastal environment and the various cultures that populated the area. Poets such as Kenneth Rexroth, Robin Blaser, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder let poetry workshops at San Francisco State College (which is where I went to school in the early 60s, but unfortunately I was uninterested in poetry at the time, so I never heard any of them, my loss.) and UC Berkeley. Codicil by Kenneth Rexroth 1956 Most of the world's poetry Is artifice, construction. No one reads it but scholars. After a generation It has grown so overcooked, It cannot be digested. There is little I haven't Read, and dreary stuff it was. Lamartine , Gower , Tasso , Or the metaphysicals Of Cambridge, ancient or modern, And their American apes. Of course for years the ruling Class of English poetry Has held that that is just what Poetry is, impersonal Construction, where personal Pronouns are never permitted. If rigorously enough Applied, such a theory Produces in practice its Opposite. The poetry Of Eliot and Valéry, Like that of Pope, isn't just Personal, it is intense, Subjective reverie as Intimate and revealing, Embarrassing if you will, As the indiscretions of The psychoanalyst's couch. There is always sufficient Reason for a horror of The use of the pronoun, "I."