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Affect, Psychoanalysis, and American Poetry: This Feeling of Exaltation

Affect, Psychoanalysis, and American Poetry: This Feeling of Exaltation

by John Steen


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Poetry has often been defined by its closure, its condensation of meaning and value into discrete, self-referential textual objects. Affect, Psychoanalysis and American Poetrychallenges the dominant metaphor of poetic containers by turning to recent poetic texts that represent the contagious and uncontainable feelings of anxiety, grief, shame, and rage. From modernists Wallace Stevens to mid-century poets Randall Jarrell, Robert Creeley and Ted Berrigan, and finally to contemporary practitioners Aaron Kunin and Claudia Rankine, John Steen argues that new poetic techniques arise from the poetic productivity of negative affects, and that a new model of poetic value can be found in poems that are-instead of containers-permeable, social spaces of intimacy, attachment, and withdrawal. Drawing from object relations, psychoanalysis, queer theory, and affect theory, Affect, Psychoanalysis, and American Poetryfinds poetry's singularity in its unique capacity to represent anew the transmissible, relational, and uncontainable valences of feeling that structure and destabilize social life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781350146884
Publisher: Continnuum-3PL
Publication date: 01/23/2020
Series: Bloomsbury Studies in Critical Poetics
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

John Steen is an English instructor at The Galloway School, USA.

Table of Contents


1. Anxiety's Holding: Wallace Stevens' Poetry of the Nerves
2. Threshold Poetics: Stevens and D. W. Winnicott's 'Not-Communicating'
3. Randall Jarrell's Beards
4. Mourbaning the Elegy: Robert Creeley's 'Mother's Photograph'
5. Ted Berrigan's Reparations
6. Aaron Kunin's Line of Shame
7. This Feeling of Time: Claudia Rankine's Citizen


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