George Oppen

George Oppen
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The Words in Action
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Richard Swigg
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For too long the essential basis of George Oppen's poetry—the words on the page and their acoustics—has been ignored in critical discussions of his work. Challenging this neglect, Richard Swigg offers the reader a direct route into the visual / auditory dimension of the poems as they develop from the 1930s to the 1970s, while also tracing his important literary relations with contemporaries such as Charles Reznikoff, Denise Levertov and Charles Tomlinson.
George Oppen's standing in American poetry has never been greater. Yet despite the mass of critical writing since his death in 1984, the essential basis of the verse—the words on the page and their acoustics—has rarely been the subject of discussion. In this book therefore Richard Swigg breaks away from the general trend of Oppen studies studies and offers the reader a direct way into the visual and auditory dimension of the poems. Ranging across the entire span of the work, from the 1930s to the 1970s, he traces for the first time the full extent of Oppen's engagement with the concrete world and his important poetic relationships with Charles Reznikoff, Denise Levertov, Charles Tomlinson and others.
Words and World: An Introduction

1. Parts, Pairs, Positions: A Reading of Discrete Series

2. To Write in the Great World Small

3. That the Stones Stand: Materials for a New Poetry

4. The Test of Belief: or Why George Oppen Quarrelled with Denise Levertov

5. We Want to Be Here: Oppen, Bronk and the Concrete World

6. Speak If You Can: Language and Counter-Language in New York

7. In Defense of Metaphysics

8. The Edge of the Continent: the San Francisco Poems

9. Voice, Line and Verticals: Seascape and Beyond

10. Out of the Whirlwind: the Evolution of a Poem

11. The Narrow End of the Funnel

Selected Bibliography


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