Poets At Play: An Anthology of Modernist Drama

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1st Edition

240 x 160 mm. 360pp ... [In stock in Australia, for immediate delivery]

Poets at Play: An Anthology of Modernist Drama is the first book in over 30 years to consider the dramatic and theatrical legacy of American modernist poets, making these plays accessible to students and scholars in one concise volume. This critical anthology presents selected drama by American poets writing between 1910 and 1960 - Wallace Stevens, Edna St. Vincent Millay, H. D., E. E. Cummings, Marita Bonner, William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound.

Tracing the influences for modern poetic drama from the inspiration of Shakespeare's theatre to the modernist experiments of the early 20th century, the 'Critical Introduction' provides a historical overview for the intersections of poetry and theatre in literary history, paying particular attention to production histories while also addressing the connection between verse and physical performance, representations of the sexual and racial 'other', and belief in the transformative potential of poetry in the theatre.

Beginning with Stevens' Three Travelers Watch a Sunrise (1916) as a dynamic introduction to the modernist transformation of poetry into performance, the collection also includes Millay's biting anti-war satire, Aria da Capo (1920) and H.D's Hippolytus Temporizes (1927), loosely adapted from the Euripides play. Both plays demonstrate the Greek poets' enduring legacy in modern poetic drama and the tradition - smashing language that Pound called for with his revolutionary charge, 'make it new'.

Despite being out of print for more than 25 years, Cummings's Him (1927), combines absurd wordplay and nonlinear dramatic structure, in what may be called American dada, to comment on the theatre, popular culture, and sexual politics against the darkening background of pre-World War II geopolitics.

Equally political, Bonner offers a decidedly different perspective on American poetic drama in her allegory of Black life in The Purple Flower (1928), depicting Whiteness as the racial other in the spiritual battle for the future.

Though often overlooked, Williams' play Many Loves (1942) challenges the definition of poetic drama with 'reality' depicted in verse and the play-within-a-play written in realistic prose.

The collection concludes with one of Stein's last two plays, The Mother of Us All (1945) as a coda to the dramatic and literary career of one of America's most famous avant-garde poets and Pound's Women of Trachis (1956), a dynamic reimagining of Greek tragedy. Like many of the plays in this collection, Pound's is a dark vision of an incomprehensible world and a fitting conclusion to considerations of poetic drama in the first half of the 20th century.

Sarah Bey-Cheng is Associate Professor of Theater at the University of Buffalo/SUNY, where she teaches modern drama, avant-garde theatre and film, and intermedia performance theory. Barbara Cole is the Education Director for Just Buffalo Literary Center.
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SKU 9781575911281
Barcode # 9781575911281
Brand AUP
Artist / Author Sarah BAY-CHENG & Barbara COLE (editors)

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