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Mythologies of ‘Ecstatic immersion’: America, The Poem and the Ethics of Lyric in Jorie Graham and Lisa Jarnot

Mythologies of ‘Ecstatic immersion’: America, The Poem and the Ethics of Lyric in Jorie Graham and Lisa Jarnot

Chapter:
(p.202) Chapter 10 Mythologies of ‘Ecstatic immersion’: America, The Poem and the Ethics of Lyric in Jorie Graham and Lisa Jarnot
Source:
American Mythologies
Author(s):
Nick Selby
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853237365.003.0011

This chapter examines the most recent collections of two contemporary American poets – Jorie Graham's Swarm (2000) and Never (2002), and Lisa Jarnot's Ring of Fire (2003) – in order to investigate the implications on twenty-first century poetics of America's mythologization of itself, and the ground it occupies, as a poem. The poetry of Jarnot and Graham reminds us that the mythological frames through which we read America are ones about the conquest of space, about taking on the land, about inhabiting the ground. If, that is, the idea of America as a poem is made manifest in myths of the frontier, of exceptionalism and manifest destiny, and of romantic individualism, then it is precisely such myths which are unpicked by Jarnot's and Graham's attention to their own status as American lyric poets.

Keywords:   Whitman, Emerson, poems, poetics, mythologies, American poets, America, lyric poets

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