Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

Weise, Jillian

Committee Member

Paul , Catherine

Committee Member

Hunter , Walt

Abstract

In the field of modern/postmodern poetry studies, the Second Generation New York School of poets has been, and continues to be, an undervalued aesthetic movement. Following the now famous First Generation New York School - a literary and artistic coterie containing the likes of Ashbery, O'Hara, and Pollock - the poets of the Second Generation lived, worked, and often died in New York's Lower East Side and, in the process, emulated and altered the aesthetic of the First Generation. This thesis attempts to contextualize the achievements of the Second Generation New York School by focusing on the movement's de facto leader, the poet Ted Berrigan. Born in Providence, but raised in Tulsa, Berrigan is best known for The Sonnets (1964), a collection of poetry that relies on processes of assemblage and cut-up to effect a proceduralist poetry that, up until recently, has garnered little scholarly attention. It is my contention that The Sonnets is of monumental importance to an understanding of twentieth-century postmodern poetry because it reflects a Marxian attitude towards community collaboration, language as commodified linguistic object, and the role of the modernist poet as as bourgeois (and far too serious!) individualized maker-of-meaning. By explicating The Sonnets' subtle, yet poignant, socioeconomic critique, I am hoping that future scholarly attention will be given to both Berrigan and the poetic experiment that sustained him, the Second Generation New York School.

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