The Suburban Body in American Modern Poetry [abstract]
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Critics seem only recently to have taken note of the prevalence of the suburbs as content in American poetry. Robert Van Hallberg ends his American Poetry and Culture, 1945-1980 with a brief discussion of the poetry that issued from the suburbs in the 1970's: "In the last decade, several important poets have tried in particular to accommodate the middle and lower-middle classes resident in the suburbs and represented through television, movies, and tabloids." He goes on to argue that this has been the case because, "the actual audience for poetry is suburban only insofar as college and university towns are suburban" (228). In The American Poetry Wax Museum Jed Rasula takes a less descriptive, more polemical stance on the poetry of the American suburbs, lambasting the "suburban epiphany," which he claims has become an aspiration of too many contemporary poems (428). Rasula associates the abundance of suburban poetry with university culture and especially the ensconcement of the American poet in academia: "The white collar subject of Whyte's Organization Man in the 1950s has, in the 1990s, become the Organization Poet, studiously and obediently working up curriculum vitae itemizing the published 'McPoems' . . . by which such careers are profiled" (433).
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