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School of English and Drama

John Dunn


The Limits of Lyric: A reading of three US American poets



I submitted my thesis in December 2018. It focuses on the Language Poets and their theoretical and poetic influences. My author-led chapters focus on the work of Lyn Hejinian, George Oppen and Robert Duncan, while an introduction describes reception, influence and efficacy of the literary avant-garde within and without the academy in the late 20th century. In the poetic cultures of the West Coast figures of expression, performance and reading were highly politicised. However I advocate for an alternative narrative to the routine dichotomies of artifice and expression. Drawing on ideas from New Lyric Studies and discussing the lyricisation of poetry after New Criticism, I acknowledge the importance of “antilyricism” as a shaping force in contemporary poetry, but suggest the true influences are deeper than postmodern theory and lie in the late modernist lyric projects of their precursors. Beyond these Americanist ideas, I have also an interest in contemporary debates on reading, critical pedagogy, and the history of English studies. I live and work in Deptford, South London.
Co-editor of Hotel Magazine (2014 - 2017)