Language Poets

The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine that bears that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work and tend to downplay expression, seeing the poem as a construction in and of language itself. In developing their poetics, members of the Language school took as their starting point the emphasis on method evident in the modernist tradition, particularly as represented by Gertrude Stein and Louis Zukofsky. Language poetry is also an example of poetic postmodernism. Its immediate postmodern precursors were the New American poets, a rubric which includes the New York School, the Objectivist poets, the Black Mountain School, the Beat poets, and the San Francisco Renaissance.

While there is no such thing as a "typical" Language poem, certain aspects of the writing of language poets became heavily identified with this group: writing that actively challenged the "natural" Presence of a speaker behind the text; writing that emphasized disjunction and the materiality of the signifier; and prose poetry, especially in longer forms than had previously been favored by English language writers, and other nontraditional and usually nonnarrative forms.

Language poetry has been a controversial topic in American letters from the 1970s to the present. Even the name itself has been controversial: while a number of poets and critics have used the name of the journal to refer to the group, many others have chosen to use the term, when they used it at all, without the equals signs, while "language writing" and "language-centered writing" are also commonly used, and perhaps the most generic terms. None of the poets associated with the tendency have used the equal signs when referring to the writing collectively, and its appearance in some critical articles can be read as an index of the author's outsider status.

Online writing samples of many language poets can be found on internet sites, including blogs and sites maintained by authors and through gateways such as the Electronic Poetry Center, PennSound, and UbuWeb.

Read more about Language PoetsPoetics of Language Writing: Theory and Practice

Other articles related to "language poets, language, poets":

New Narrative and Language Poets
... Long Note on New Narrative," Robert Gl├╝ck says that Language Poetry seemed very "straight male," and he strove to find a genre that would embrace those of different ... of writers rather than as individuals, two elements that Language Poetry seems to be lacking ... than you.'" In an interview, Kevin Killian said that the New Narrative authors agreed with the Language Poets' ideas of transforming narrative structure ...
Language Poets - Poetics of Language Writing: Theory and Practice - Language Poetry in The Early 21st Century
... In many ways, what Language poetry is is still being determined ... Most of the poets whose work falls within the bounds of the Language school are still alive and still active contributors ... During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Language poetry was widely received as a significant movement in innovative poetry in the U.S ...

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