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Museum Mediations : Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry - Barbara K. Fisher

Museum Mediations

Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry

Hardcover Published: 27th March 2006
ISBN: 9780415975346
Number Of Pages: 228

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This interdisciplinary study participates in the ongoing critical conversation about postwar American poetry and visual culture, while advancing that field into the arena of the museum. Turning to contemporary poems about the visual arts that foreground and interrogate a museum setting, the book demonstrates the particular importance of the museum as a cultural site that is both inspiration and provocation for poets. The study uniquely bridges the "dual canon" in contemporary poetry (and calls the lyric/avant-garde distinction into question) by analyzing museum-sponsored anthologies as well as poems by John Ashbery, Richard Howard, Kenneth Koch, Kathleen Fraser, Cole Swensen, Anne Carson, and others. Through these case studies of poets with diverse affiliations, the author shows that the boom in ekphrasis in the past 20 years is not only an aesthetic but a critical phenomenon, a way that poets have come to terms with the critical dilemmas of our moment. Highlighting the importance of poets' "peripheral vision"-awareness of the institutional conditions that frame encounters with art-the author contend that a museum visit becomes a forum for questioning oppositions that have preoccupied literary criticism for the past 50 years: homage and innovation, modernism and postmodernism, subjectivity and collectivity. The study shows that ekphrasis becomes a strategy for negotiating these impasses-a mode of political inquiry, a meditation on canonization, a venue for comic appraisal of institutionalization, and a means of "site-specific" feminist revision-in a vital synthesis of critique, perspicacity, and pleasure.

List of Figuresp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: The Museum as Musep. 1
Charisma and Critique: Interrogating Aesthetic Liminality in Museum-Sponsored Anthologiesp. 15
"Returned Again to the Exhibition": John Ashbery, Avant-Gardism, and Ekphrastic Riskp. 53
Daring to Wink: The Museum Comedies of Kenneth Koch and Richard Howardp. 95
"Someone (A Woman) Watching": Site-Specific Ekphrasis by Three Feminist Innovatorsp. 143
Epiloguep. 187
Notesp. 191
Bibliographyp. 211
Indexp. 223
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780415975346
ISBN-10: 0415975344
Series: Literary Criticism and Cultural Theory
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 228
Published: 27th March 2006
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 21.03  x 1.83
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1