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Ruth Louise Jennison
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2011 – 7/31/2011

Louis Zukofsky and the Objectivist Movement in American Avant-Garde Poetry

The Zukofsky Era: Modernity, Margins and the American Avant-Garde studies the poetry of the Objectivist movement, inaugurated by Louis Zukofsky in 1932. Many Anglo- American modernists possessed a pessimistic perspective of a modernity in disarray--a perspective which often resulted in a turn towards Fascistic political solutions. The Objectivists--Zukofsky, George Oppen and Lorine Niedecker--shared with the canonical modernists an interest in experiment and innovation. Yet they also held commitments to radical democracy, which they saw as the political parallel of their artistic avant-gardism. The Zukofsky Era reconstructs the relationship between the innovations of these Jewish, working-class and feminist poets and their political imaginations. The project identifies the key characteristics of Depression-era modernism, including its registration of economic crisis and its elaboration of a spatial imaginary mapped by increasing connections between the global core and its periphery.