L I B B I E Jed Rasula, This Compost: Ecological Imperatives in American Poetry. Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 2002. xv + 259 pp. $39.95. ed Rasula's 1996 American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects, 19401990 was a groundbreaking work of institutional literary history. In it, Rasula used the figure of the wax museum to spark a detailed account of the forces that brought the personal lyric and its practitioners to dominance in the latter half of the twentieth century, exploring such phenomena as the Bollingen controversy, the anthology wars, and the rise of the Associated Writing Programs. Seeking to develop "a sense of poetry in America as a matrix of lives lived, not a Jurassic Park of spectacular behemoths," he broke from the traditional literary historical monograph's poet-per-chapter format to produce a rangy, idiosyncratic work that hovers, in his words, "between documentary and polemic."1 With its section of cross-referenced appendices, including inventories of American poetry anthologies and the poets who appeared in them, prizes and awards, and "critical industries" (a list of poets ranked by the number of hits each received in the MLA bibliography from 1981 to 1994), Wax Museum stands as a remarkable
Contemporary Literature – University of Wisconsin Press
Published: Oct 28, 2004
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