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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

American poetic realism still remains a largely unknown and untold story. Although it came to American poetry relatively late by comparison with fiction, the typical American realist poem has a distinctive nexus combining theme, diction, and style. Chief among the first American realists are Robert Frost, Edgar Lee Masters, Carl Sandburg, and Sara Teasdale. Specifically, realist poetry expresses a pragmatic philosophy rejecting the individual’s location in the world as something knowable, fixed, and stable. Realist poets reject as amoral and quietist the commitment to beauty for the sake of beauty and tend toward virtues associated with masculinity. Their poetry rejects generic nouns in favor of particulars and depicts recognizable contemporary landscapes and, above all, contemporary American cities such as Chicago, Boston, or New York. It emphasizes the interior space of the self as revealed by the new science of psychology. It also focuses on the living idiom of talk and speech rather than a “literary” language.

Keywords: realism, poetry, modernism, pragmatism, imagism

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