Other Free Encyclopedias » Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern Fiction » Encyclopedia of Literature: New from Tartary to Frank O'connor

Objectivist Poetry:

Poetry's, An ‘Objectivists’ Anthology, Collected Poems, 1921–1931

verse zukofsky theories poem

an influential movement in American verse of the early 1930s which stressed the importance of concrete detail and the spatial integrity of the poem; its practitioners avoided metaphorical devices as tending to diffuseness. Louis Zukofsky was the principal spokesman for the group, of which George Oppen, Charles Reznikoff, and Carl Rakosi were other leading members, and produced Poetry's ‘Objectivists’ special issue in 1931; Ezra Pound was instrumental in the editorial arrangements, and Basil Bunting and Kenneth Rexroth were also among the contributors. William Carlos Williams's theories concerning the poem's status as an autonomous entity resulting from the relationship between the perceiving consciousness and objective reality were of great significance in the formulation of the Objectivists' tenets; Zukofsky wished to regard the poem as an ‘object in process’, its images indissociable from a formal entirety that would not merely record events but constitute a primary phenomenon of itself; he was insistent that the term ‘Objectivism’ should not be applied to his poetic theories in order to avoid confusion with the philosophical meanings of the word. Objectivist verse was in part an attempt to purge Imagism of affectations it was felt to have developed since its beginnings. An ‘Objectivists’ Anthology (1932) was published under Zukofsky's editorship by the press Oppen had established at Le Beausset in France; the two then formed the Objectivist Press which produced numerous valuable editions, including Williams's Collected Poems, 1921–1931 in 1934. The theories of the Objectivists and their use of innovative typographical procedures anticipated important features of later American poetry, notably the Projective verse of Charles Olson and his followers.

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or

Vote down Vote up

over 2 years ago

I need to know about Objectivist Poets more.