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"That We Can Somehow Add Each to Each Other?": George Oppen between Denise Levertov and Rachel Blau DuPlessis

"That We Can Somehow Add Each to Each Other?": George Oppen between Denise Levertov and Rachel... LIBBIE RIFKIN "P oetry: Pure and Complex," the title of Denise Levertov's review of Charles Reznikoff's By the Waters of Manhattan and George Oppen's The Materials, neatly sums up her assessment of the two volumes. "The illumined transparency of Reznikoff's poetry," she writes, "stems from a rare innocence which makes him unafraid to say the almost-ordinary . . . ; and to say it in a language bare of ornament, revealing its intrinsic music" (25). Oppen's poems, on the other hand, "rise up with an effort out of inner conflict, coming to no facile resolution but pulling the conflict with them into the cruel daylight. Man in his environment, man with his machines; `how to live, what to do': It is with these complexities that Oppen wrestles" (27). Levertov's review was published on February 18, 1963, in The New Leader, a magazine founded in 1924 by Eugene V. Debs and other leading members of the American Socialist Party. The paper changed hands in the 1930s, and by the 1950s solidified its place as a liberal, anti-Communist journal of news and opinion, assembling contributions from an international array of dissident public intellectuals.1 Levertov was an occasional reviewer at The http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

"That We Can Somehow Add Each to Each Other?": George Oppen between Denise Levertov and Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Contemporary Literature , Volume 51 (4) – Apr 2, 2011

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University of Wisconsin Press
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Copyright © University of Wisconsin Press
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Abstract

LIBBIE RIFKIN "P oetry: Pure and Complex," the title of Denise Levertov's review of Charles Reznikoff's By the Waters of Manhattan and George Oppen's The Materials, neatly sums up her assessment of the two volumes. "The illumined transparency of Reznikoff's poetry," she writes, "stems from a rare innocence which makes him unafraid to say the almost-ordinary . . . ; and to say it in a language bare of ornament, revealing its intrinsic music" (25). Oppen's poems, on the other hand, "rise up with an effort out of inner conflict, coming to no facile resolution but pulling the conflict with them into the cruel daylight. Man in his environment, man with his machines; `how to live, what to do': It is with these complexities that Oppen wrestles" (27). Levertov's review was published on February 18, 1963, in The New Leader, a magazine founded in 1924 by Eugene V. Debs and other leading members of the American Socialist Party. The paper changed hands in the 1930s, and by the 1950s solidified its place as a liberal, anti-Communist journal of news and opinion, assembling contributions from an international array of dissident public intellectuals.1 Levertov was an occasional reviewer at The

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Apr 2, 2011

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