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Grant number like: FB-51868-05

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Lesley Madeleine Wheeler
Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA 24450-2116)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 6/30/2006

Sound and Presence in American Poetry, 1925 to the Present

The metaphor of voice haunts American poetry and criticism, yet no consensus exists on its meaning. This study, ranging from the margins of modernism to the twenty-first century, proves the term’s resonance and clarifies the debate. Voice remains a crucial word in the poetic vocabulary not despite but because of its ambiguity—poets and readers deploy it to conjure community, emphasize the pleasures of sound, and manipulate the promise of original expression. I investigate the construction and subversion of voice through the works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, James Merrill, Denise Duhamel, Maureen Seaton, and others. Framing chapters read live performances and probe the relationship between oral and print cultures.