DescriptionWorkshop Organiser: War and American Poetry after 1945
"Cultural criticism finds itself faced with the final stage of the dialectic of culture and barbarism. To write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric. And this corrodes even the knowledge of why it has become impossible to write poetry today."" So Adorno argued in his 1949 essay 'Cultural Criticism and Society'. While critics and writers alike have struggled with the implications of Adorno's argument and debated the possibility of and/or appropriateness of writing in the wake of such a traumatic event, it is clear that literature has taken a number of positions in relation to conflict and violence since 1945. American responses to World War Two and numerous conflicts since 1945 have come in a variety of forms and American poetry since the end of World War Two has been itself a conflicted territory that continually provides space for voices of protest and dissent. While war has been a reality for a nation with troops deployed overseas since the end of WW2 it has also been a recurrent element within US poetry in this period, with American poets either commenting on contemporary conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, 9/11) or writing back to older conflicts within the US (Robert Lowell, 'For
the Union Dead', Gertrude Stein, Wars I Have Seen). A number of American poets served in WW2 (Randall Jarrell, Karl Shapiro, Louis Simpson, Howard Nemerov, Richard Eberhart) while there have been regular reactions to America's involvement in international conflicts by America's poets in recent decades (for example, Denise Levertov's 1975 collection The Freeing of The Dust examines America's role in Vietnam, or her 1992 poem 'In California During the Gulf War' which discusses "'our
resistance to the crimes committed//-again, again - in our name'").
|Period||04 Apr 2004|
|Location||The Hague, Netherlands|
|Degree of Recognition||International|