Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Home Front since 1941

Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Home Front since 1941

by Philip Metres

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Whether Thersites in Homer’s Iliad, Wilfred Owen in “Dulce et Decorum Est,” or Allen Ginsberg in “Wichita Vortex Sutra,” poets have long given solitary voice against the brutality of war. The hasty cancellation of the 2003 White House symposium “Poetry and the American Voice” in the face of protests by Sam Hamill and other invited guests against the coming “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq reminded us that poetry and poets still have the power to challenge the powerful.
    Behind the Lines investigates American war resistance poetry from the Second World War through the Iraq wars. Rather than simply chronicling the genre, Philip Metres argues that this poetry gets to the heart of who is authorized to speak about war and how it can be represented. As such, he explores a largely neglected area of scholarship: the poet’s relationship to dissenting political movements and the nation.
    In his elegant study, Metres examines the ways in which war resistance is registered not only in terms of its content but also at the level of the lyric. He proposes that protest poetry constitutes a subgenre that—by virtue of its preoccupation with politics, history, and trauma—probes the limits of American lyric poetry. Thus, war resistance poetry—and the role of what Shelley calls unacknowledged legislators—is a crucial, though largely unexamined, body of writing that stands at the center of dissident political movements.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781587297380
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication date: 05/01/2007
Series: Contemp North American Poetry
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 296
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Philip Metres is an assistant professor in the Department of English at John Carroll University. He holds a BA in English and peace studies from Holy Cross and a PhD in English and an MFA in poetry from Indiana University. Author of two chapbooks—Instants and Primer for Non-Native Speakers—and two books of poetry in translation, he has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in creative writing and translation.

Table of Contents

PART 1 World War : The Poetics of Conscientious Objection 25 1. Robert Lowel's Reisais: Mc mories of W\ar Resistance in Prison 2- 2 William Stafford's Lost Landmarks: The Poetics of Pacifsm and the Limits of Lyric 51 3. William Everson and the Fine Arts Camp: From Utopian Hopes to a hronicle of Divisioi PART 2 Vietnam: The War on the Homefront 93 4. Bringing t All Back Home: From Anthology to Action 9 5. Denise Levertov's Distant itnss: The Politics of identification 127 PART 3 The Persian Gulf War: Protest and the Postmodern 13 6. The Gump War: Lyric Resisance Poetry in Crisis 155 7. Jne Jordan'is Righteous Certainty: Poetic Address in Resistance Poetry 179 8. Barrett Watten's Bad History: A Counter-Epic of the Gulf War r97 CODA Proliferations: Sites of Resistance since September ii, 2001 21

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