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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article presents a literary history moving downward into a moment in time—the poetic frenzy of the year 1960. It hypothesizes a remarkable concurrence between William S. Burroughs and Marianne Moore on the cultural value of what “Mr. Eisenhower said”: that what the president says is negligible, except in the poem, where counterintuitively it derives enormous poetic possibility and where, they also agree, such “word-waterfall” can be vital to American art—can feed us out of the well-spring of lives as actually lived in the linguistic ambience of our polity. In the writing as a worldly done thing, for both poets, nothing less than freedom is at stake.

Keywords: William S. Burroughs, Marianne Moore, American poetry, modern poetry, freedom

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