What is…Radical Poetry?“I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's” - William Blake
Like musical forms such as Big Band, Jazz, Rock, Hip-Hop, and Rap, radical poetry upsets the norms and conventions of the previous generation. 2. Oftentimes, critics of the era will argue that Radical Poetry isn’t “Poetry” at all. History judges differently.
Who isn’t a radical? Shakespeare: He sought to emulate classical forms, such as: a. The Tragedy b. The Comedy True Radicals reject or subvert previous forms, while borrowing what works well.
Isaac Newton: • “If I have seen farther than others, it is only because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.” • Radicals appreciate the works of the past, but believe each time deserves it’s own voice.
Who is a Radical? • Radicals often become the “founding fathers” of new movements in Literature, Music, and Society. A few radicals are: • Benjamin Franklin, Jackson Pollack, Dr. Dre, William Wordsworth, Count Basie, Thomas Pynchon, Luis Bunuel, Pablo Picasso, Miles Davis, John Lennon, Lord Byron, Mary Shelly, Catallus, Heronamous Bosch, Elizabeth II, Francis Ford Copola, and John Keats amongst others…
What will we learn? • In this unit, we’ll explore a few key moments in the history of radical poetry a. The Romantic Movement. b. The Modernist Movement. c. The found poem. We’ll discuss what makes a poem a poem and what makes it a “radical” poem.
What will we do? • Compose: a found poem. • Practice: Interpretation of poetry. • Evaluate: The philosophies of various movements of Poetry. • Apply: the literary elements to our discussion of poetry. • Present: Our interpretation of a poem in the form of a drama, poster, paper, or ? • Debate: what is radical TODAY.
Romantic Movement: Beginnings • Romantic Poetry was born out of the Romantic Movement in Europe during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries.
The movement was a reaction against the birth of industrialization, which created more urban environments, and the philosophical movement “The Enlightenment,” which promoted “reason” as the solution to humankind’s problems.
Above all, however, it was the impact of the French Revolution which gave the period its most distinctive and urgent concerns. Following the Revolution itself, which began in 1789, Britain was at war with France on continental Europe for nearly twenty years while massive repression of political dissent was implemented at home.
Against this background much of the major writing of the period, associated with the term Romantic, takes place between 1789 (when the French Revolution began) and 1824 and can be seen as a response to changing political and social conditions in one respect or another.
"Romanticism is precisely situated neither in choice of subject nor exact truth, but in a way of feeling." - Baudelaire
Core beliefs:Strong Feeling Though from its title Romantic Poetry may seem to be about love, it is instead simply about strong feeling or emotion, especially in regards to nature. Romantic poets believed that the best tool they had for understanding the world was not science, but subjective experience.
The Common Man: • The Romantic movement marked a shift the use of language. Attempting to express the "language of the common man," Wordsworth and his fellow Romantic poets focused on employing poetic language for a wider audience. • In Shelley's "Defense of Poetry," he contends that poets are the "creators of language" and that the poet's job is to refresh language for their society.
Originality: • The Romantic movement emphasized the creative expression of the individual and the need to find and formulate new forms of expression. “I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's” - William Blake • To the Romantics, the moment of creation was the most important in poetic expression and could not be repeated once it passed. Because of this new emphasis, poems that were not complete were nonetheless included in a poet's body of work.
The “Noble Savage” • The term "noble savage" expresses a romantic concept of humankind as unencumbered by civilization; the natural essence of the unfettered person. Since the concept embodies the idea that without the bounds of civilization, man is essentially good, the basis for the idea of the "noble savage" lies in the doctrine of the natural goodness of man
Pantheism Many romantic poets reference the god-like power inherent in nature. This is often depicted as a spiritual force. “And I have felta presence that disturbs me with the joyOf elevated thoughts; a sense sublimeOf something far more deeply interfused,Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,And the round ocean and the living air,And the blue sky, and in the mind of man: A motion and a spirit, that impelsAll thinking things, all objects of all thought,And rolls through all things. Therefore am I stillA lover of the meadows and the woods,And mountains; and of all that we beholdFrom this green earth . . . “[Tintern Abbey, 93-105 (1798)]
The Sublime: The quality of transcendent greatness, whether physical, moral, intellectual or artistic. The term especially refers to a greatness with which nothing else can be compared and which is beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement or imitation. This greatness is often used when referring to nature and its vastness.
Poetic Philosophy • “ I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity: the emotion is contemplated till, by a species of reaction, the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to that which was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced, and does itself actually exist in the mind.” • William Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads