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Mourning the Modernist Undead: Robert Duncan’s Company and the Felt Silence of the Lost Generation

Mourning the Modernist Undead: Robert Duncan’s Company and the Felt Silence of the Lost Generation SARAH EHLERS I wanted to say something, that my heart had such a burden, or needed a burden in order to say something. Robert Duncan, "Doves" fter learning of H.D.'s death, Denise Levertov scribbled a note to Robert Duncan and enclosed a poem: We found H.D.'s obituary in the Times this morning. . . . The poem enclosed, which I was going to send to you anyway, I now dedicate to her memory. I am sad. (Duncan and Levertov 309) The poem, titled "September 1961" and eventually published in Levertov's O Taste and See (1964), was written after H.D. suffered a stroke that left her mute in the last months of her life. The event prompted Levertov to meditate on H.D.'s loss of speech, as well as on the increased silences of William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound, two other modernist predecessors she and Duncan shared. "September 1961" explores how "the old great ones," as they are dubbed in the poem, are "learning to live without words" and, as a consequence, leave the next generation "alone on the road" (O Taste 9) and in the wake of a "new silence" (10). Duncan's response to the poem proves how http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

Mourning the Modernist Undead: Robert Duncan’s Company and the Felt Silence of the Lost Generation

Contemporary Literature , Volume 55 (1)

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
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Copyright © the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin.
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1548-9949
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Abstract

SARAH EHLERS I wanted to say something, that my heart had such a burden, or needed a burden in order to say something. Robert Duncan, "Doves" fter learning of H.D.'s death, Denise Levertov scribbled a note to Robert Duncan and enclosed a poem: We found H.D.'s obituary in the Times this morning. . . . The poem enclosed, which I was going to send to you anyway, I now dedicate to her memory. I am sad. (Duncan and Levertov 309) The poem, titled "September 1961" and eventually published in Levertov's O Taste and See (1964), was written after H.D. suffered a stroke that left her mute in the last months of her life. The event prompted Levertov to meditate on H.D.'s loss of speech, as well as on the increased silences of William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound, two other modernist predecessors she and Duncan shared. "September 1961" explores how "the old great ones," as they are dubbed in the poem, are "learning to live without words" and, as a consequence, leave the next generation "alone on the road" (O Taste 9) and in the wake of a "new silence" (10). Duncan's response to the poem proves how

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

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