Themes and Meanings (Masterplots II: Poetry, Revised Edition)
Berrigan collaborated with many poets in his lifetime, and a certain carelessness about ownership—of both words and possessions—was a part of the challenge that these poets raised to bourgeois society. Berrigan’s poetry flourished in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, in the years when the counterculture had such momentum, and revolutionary possibilities were—to an extent—realizable. Such techniques of collaboration as the “exquisite corpse” method (each person writes a line, folds the paper over, and passes it to his neighbor) began with the Surrealists but were revived by Berrigan and his peers in the interests of encouraging community. A sort of utopianism, a kind of anarchy, and surely the old wish to shock the bourgeoisie were at once context and theme for Berrigan and his collaborators. These poets often composed while stoned on marijuana or hallucinogenic drugs; alcohol and amphetamines were also popular. To their detractors, this was mere self-indulgence, producing work of little consequence that would soon fade from attention. An illuminating hierarchy of precedence can be discovered for such a procedure, however, including Arthur Rimbaud’s advice to poets to derange and disturb their senses, the better to see through society’s false orders.
These writers, among whom Berrigan was prominent, might not have believed in possessiveness, but this did not mean that the material was a matter of indifference to them. Alice Notley remarks...
(The entire section is 375 words.)
Show us the love and view this for free! Use the facebook like button, or any other share button on this page, and get this content free!free!
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Last Poem Themes. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!