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The Gift of the Poem: Mallarmé and Robert Duncan's "Ground Work: Before the War"

Catherine Martin
The Modern Language Review
Vol. 103, No. 2 (Apr., 2008), pp. 364-382
DOI: 10.2307/20467778
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20467778
Page Count: 19
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The Gift of the Poem: Mallarmé and Robert Duncan's "Ground Work: Before the War"
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Abstract

Robert Duncan's poetry is conventionally read in the context of the Black Mountain school of poetry or the San Francisco Renaissance of the 1950s. However, his work is also deeply involved with that of the French symbolist Stéphane Mallarmé. While Mallarmé informs much of Duncan's writing, notably the metaphors of interruption and dictation central to his poetics, a cluster of Duncan's poems from the mid-70s gives us an important insight into the procedures of his final Ground Work volumes, illuminating his changing notion of the poem as 'gift'.

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