Spring 1983 • Vol. V No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1983 |

The Other Long Poem

Over the past two decades the only kind of long poem taken seriously by poetry's readership was the sequence: a series of lyrics thematically rather than dramatically organized and depending for its impact on the intensity of the individual moment and the accumulative effect of its images. At the same time the narrative and dramatic poem, with developed plot and character, was disregarded, much in the same way that Aristotelian drama was shoved aside for Theater of the Absurd with its loosely circular structure and its concentration on atmospheric intensity. This limiting of the form of the long poem was one of the many effects of modernism hardening into dogma. The great modernists--Yeats, Pound, Stevens, for example--understanding the advantages of using plot, achieved some dramatic movement in their sequences by alluding to plot elements in old myths or texts or to some larger political action offstage. But their most recent followers (though they looked to myth for its primi

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The Eyes

By Frederick Feirstein

Over the past two decades the only kind of long poem taken seriously by poetry's readership was the sequence: a series of lyrics thematically rather than dramatically organized and depending […]

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