Contemporary American Poetry
The contemporary American poetry scene is diverse and varied, and no one movement or poetic school dominates the literary scene. Many poets of the early twenty-first century, however, are influenced either directly or indirectly by the artistic movement of postmodernism, which began in the years following World War II. Known for challenging fixed understandings of reality, postmodern theory suggests that the world is composed of infinite layers of meaning. Psychoanalysts such as Jacques Lacan were among the key early figures to challenge previous standards in psychological, philosophical, and linguistic thought by questioning the commonly held belief that human psychology operates in a structured symbolic universe. In literature, postmodern theory has challenged writers to think about the form and meaning of texts as variable, or not confined to one particular perspective. Many poets have been particularly influenced by the theories of Jacques Derrida, who developed a critical method called "de-construction," which stresses that texts do not refer to reality but only to other texts.
American poetry since the 1980s, therefore, tends not to take for granted that people experience and remember events in a straightforward manner in which symbols correspond to reality. Some poets have made further advances in the surrealist and abstract impressionist traditions, for example, and these traditions were particularly influential over the avant-garde "New...
(The entire section is 615 words.)