Abstract

abstract:

This article aims to show the pervasive influence of William Carlos Williams's later more "personalist" work, in particular, on the poetry of Kenneth Rexroth, Philip Whalen, and Joanne Kyger. I analyze how Williams's later poetics influence West Coast poets, particularly Kenneth Rexroth, whose idea of a "personalist" poetics stands opposed to the "impersonalist" aesthetics of T.S. Eliot-Ezra Pound wing of modernism. I then introduce close readings of several poems of Philip Whalen, whose personalist style is more internal and less extraverted than the other poets and represents another step away from the modernist Williams and toward a highly subjective personalist aesthetic where the poem can become a graph of the poet's "mind moving." I go on to argue that Joanne Kyger's poetic practice is much influenced by Whalen's innovative take on Williams's discursive poetics and contend that Kyger's Zen-influenced "poetics of interconnectedness" contribute to her reframing Bolinas as an aesthetic site strongly connected to Williams's post-Paterson sensibilities.

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