Between Poetic Voice and Silence: Hart Crane, Yvor Winters, Metapoetics and Emily Dickinson’s Legacy

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.19

Keywords:

Hart Crane, Yvor Winters, Emily Dickinson, metapoetics, silence, gender

Abstract

The article is a comparative study of the ways in which two American modernist poets bound by a literary and human connection, Hart Crane and Yvor Winters, dealt with Emily Dickinson’s legacy in their own works. My study is an attempt to place Crane within the legacy of the American Renaissance as represented not by Walt Whitman, with whom he is customarily associated, but by Dickinson, and to examine the special place she holds in Crane’s poetry and in his thinking about poetry and the world at large. Crane’s poetic take on the Amherst poet is set against and complemented by his friend Yvor Winters’s ambiguous relationship with Dickinson’s heritage: troubled by an anxiety of influence, Winters, the poet-critic, vacillates between his reverence for the female poet and his skepticism about certain aspects of her œuvre. In the close readings of the poems in question undertaken in my study, the focus is on their metapoetic dimension. Particular emphasis is laid on the dialectics of silence, which plays a key role in both Crane’s and Winters’s works under discussion, as well as on the related themes of blankness and absence, poetic plenitude and perfection. Attention is also given to the problematics of death, time and timelessness. While Winters concentrates mostly on metapoetics in his exploration of the Dickinsonian tradition, Crane goes further, considering the fate of female artists and gender issues, thereby transcending poetic self-reflexiveness and addressing farther-reaching community concerns, with particular emphasis on anti-patriarchal and feminist ones.

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Author Biography

Alicja Piechucka, University of Lodz

Alicja Piechucka works in the Department of North American Literature and Culture at the University of Lodz. She received her PhD in American literature from the University of Lodz in 2006. Her doctoral thesis was on T. S. Eliot’s poetry. Her postdoctoral research focused mostly on Hart Crane’s oeuvre. She obtained her habilitation in 2020. Her academic interests include American modernist poetry and contemporary American prose. Much of her research centers on comparative studies of American and French literature.

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Published

2020-11-24

How to Cite

Piechucka, A. (2020). Between Poetic Voice and Silence: Hart Crane, Yvor Winters, Metapoetics and Emily Dickinson’s Legacy. Text Matters: A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, (10), 336-363. https://doi.org/10.18778/2083-2931.10.19