Ammons, A. R. (Vol. 108)
A. R. Ammons 1926–
(Full name Archie Randolph Ammons) American poet.
The following entry presents an overview of Ammons's career. For further information on his life and works, see CLC, Volumes 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 25, and 57.
A prolific writer, Ammons is widely considered among the most significant contemporary American poets. Often referred to as an Emersonian Transcendentalist, Ammons is praised for his sensitive meditations on the human capacity to comprehend the flux of the natural world. Initially characterized as a nature poet in the tradition of Walt Whitman and Robert Frost, Ammons frequently writes in a conversational tone and endows his verse with resonant images of detailed landscapes. While often linked with traditional literary movements, Ammons's poetry contains a modern skepticism which stems from his refusal to attach universal significance to religious or artistic doctrines. Abstaining from offering any facile resolutions to the tensions in his works, Ammons is concerned with broadening his readers' perceptions of their relationship to the world.
Ammons was born in 1926 in Whiteville, North Carolina, where his father ran a small farm. He spent his first 17 years on the farm, and his poetry later exhibited a preoccupation with and an appreciation for natural processes. In 1943 he graduated from high school and got a job with a ship-building company in Wilmington. Ammons joined the U.S. Naval Reserve when he was 18 and served in the South Pacific for 19 months during World War II. After returning home in 1946, he entered Wake Forest College on the G.I. Bill. Ammons had begun writing poetry while in the South Pacific, and he continued throughout college. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1949. After working briefly as the principal of the elementary school in Cape Hatteras, Ammons left North Carolina to pursue a Master's degree in English at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1952 he moved to New Jersey, where he worked for several years as an executive for a biological-glassware factory. Ammons showed his poetry to the poet and critic Josephine Miles, who encouraged him to publish his work. His first collection, Ommateum with Doxology, appeared in 1955. The book sold only 16 copies in five years and did not garner much critical attention. Ammons continued to write and struggled to find a publisher for the next nine years.
In 1963 he served as editor of Nation, and did a poetry reading at Cornell University. Ammons was offered a teaching position and eventually received an endowed chair as the Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry. Ammons has since received increasing critical attention and acclaim, and has received numerous literary awards, including the National Book Award for Poetry for Collected Poems (1972), the Bollingen Prize in Poetry for Sphere: The Form of a Motion (1973), the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry for A Coast of Trees (1982), and the National Book Award for Poetry for Garbage (1993).
Ammons's work, occupied with speculations about natural processes, shows an appreciation of nature, but it is not an idealized vision as in pastoral poetry. Although the poetic landscape of Ammons's earlier work is dominated by images from the natural world, he is not a nature poet per se. His poetry is concerned with humankind's relationship to nature. The major themes of his poetry include the dialectic between the one and the many, the relationships between species, and the ever-changing nature of experience. His first collection, Ommateum with Doxology, studies different ways of looking at the world. The word ommateum means "compound eye," and exhibits Ammons's use of scientific language and his multiple perspectives. One of Ammons's main concerns is apparent in his next collection, Expressions of Sea Level (1964), in which he expresses the desire for unity between the flesh and the spirit—the form and the formless. He uses images of the sea and wind to represent nature's perpetual motion, and suggests that man is only partially aware of external forces. Ammons's Tape for the Turn of the Year (1965) is a book-length poem that takes the form of a daily poetic journal and chronicles the poet's thoughts on the mundanity of everyday life. The poem was composed on adding machine tape, as was his later Garbage. Sphere: The Form of a Motion concerns humanity's struggle to impose order on a world which defies structure and to suspend the motion of natural forces. Ammons believes that anything is a suitable subject for poetry. His collection Garbage was inspired by a landfill he passed on the highway during a trip through Florida.
Critics often refer to Ammons's work as Emersonian, asserting that his poetry shows the influence of the American Romantic tradition. Some critics assert that Ammons's work is more complicated than that, however, citing the lack of resolution and optimism in his poetry. Critics also point out the lack of an overriding doctrine in Ammon's work. Josephine Jacobsen states: "Though Ammons now and then reminds his reader of Emerson, there is an unbridgeable gap between the basically firm optimism of the transcendentalist, and the painful, theory-free search of the poet of 'Extremes and Moderations.'" In discussing Ammons's style, reviewers often note his natural and appropriate use of scientific language. As Ammon's career progressed, critics recognized a greater scope to his work and praised his ability to turn anything into poetry. Critics assert a continuity of theme and purpose in Ammons's work, and praise his ability to bring new life to his recurring concerns. Josephine Jacobsen says, "To be able to control so much renewal, to strengthen and deepen new insights and hints, upon so permanent a project, to maintain so much oneness and flexibility in such an unrelentingly coherent poetic purpose, is perhaps the most solid of Ammons's achievements."
Ommateum with Doxology (poetry) 1955
Expressions of Sea Level (poetry) 1964
Corsons Inlet: A Book of Poems (poetry) 1965
Tape for the Turn of the Year (poem) 1965
Northfield Poems (poetry) 1966
Selected Poems (poetry) 1968
Uplands (poetry) 1970
Briefings: Poems Small and Easy (poetry) 1971
Collected Poems, 1951–1971 (poetry) 1972
Sphere: The Form of a Motion (poetry) 1973
Diversifications: Poems (poetry) 1975
For Doyle Fosso (poetry) 1977
Highgate Road (poetry) 1977
The Snow Poems (poetry) 1977
The Selected Poems: 1951–1977 (poetry) 1977; expanded edition, 1987
Breaking Out (poetry) 1978
Six-Piece Suite (poetry) 1978
Selected Longer Poems (poetry) 1980
Changing Things (poetry) 1981
A Coast of Trees: Poems (poetry) 1982
Worldly Hopes: Poems (poetry) 1982
Lake Effect Country: Poems (poetry) 1982
Sumerian Vistas: Poems, 1987 (poetry) 1987
The Really Short Poems of A. R. Ammons (poetry) 1991
Garbage (poem) 1993
The Best American Poetry 1994 [editor] (poetry) 1995
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SOURCE: "Antennae to Knowledge," in The Nation, Vol. 198, No. 13, March 23, 1964, pp. 304-6.
[In the following review, Berry discusses Ammons's focus on knowledge in his Expressions of Sea Level, and analyzes the poet's use of form and scientific language.]
In this admirable book, [Expressions of Sea Level], Mr. Ammons' aim isn't beauty, though there are poems here that I think are beautiful, and it's not the suggestiveness which is sometimes meant by the word "poetic." His aim is knowledge, the getting of it and the use of it; the art of poetry is held out to the world like an antenna. A man who is concerned with knowing must necessarily be concerned with what he does not know; and one of the principles here is an honesty which insists on clarifying the difference and will then consider what is unknown or unaccountable: "I admit to mystery / in the obvious…." The suggestive is confined to what is authentically mysterious. These poems take place on the frontier between what the poet knows and what he doesn't; perhaps that explains their peculiar life and sensitivity. They open to accommodate surprises and accidents. The poet's interest is extended generously toward what he didn't expect, and his poems move by their nature in that direction.
The poems are worked out, not by the application of set forms to their materials, but in an effort to achieve form—in accordance...
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SOURCE: "The Talk of Giants," in Diacritics, Winter, 1973, pp. 34-8.
[In the following essay, Jacobsen discusses the major sources of tension in Ammons's poetry, including limitation, utility and waste, and compensation, as well as the features which make Ammons's work so strong.]
The publication of A. R. Ammons' Collected Poems, 1951–1971, has focused attention on a poet who has quietly risen to the top rank of American poets. Actually, it was obvious in his first book (Ommateum), that his work was strong and original, and formidable in its promise. Belonging to no clique, identifiable by no gimmicks, he continued to publish increasingly commanding books, while still having a relatively narrow contact with the poetry-reading public. In the past ten years his poetry began to come into its own, with the publication of Expressions of Sea Level in 1964, and the rapid appearance of three other books, Corsons Inlet and Tape for the Turn of the Year in 1965, and Northfield Poems in 1966. By the time Selected Poems arrived in 1968, his stature had been fully recognized by a number of critics. From that period to the recent publication of his collected poems, his reputation has widened and deepened, and he is now being recognized for what he is—one of the finest American poets of his generation.
Ammons' poetry is a poetry which is profoundly...
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SOURCE: A review of The Snow Poems, in Epoch, Vol. XXVI, No. 3, Spring, 1977, pp. 304-11.
[In the following review, Bullis discusses the form and themes of Ammons's The Snow Poems.]
The Snow Poems are actually one poem. It is a diary of the 1975–76 year: a record of Ammons's own experiences, observations, attitudes that begins in the fall with the bird migrations heading south and ends in the spring, with welcoming (the last word of the poem is "we(l)come") "a young / birch frilly in early-girlish / leaf." The Snow Poems is at the same time an almanac—a compendium of useful and interesting facts, proverbs, weather news. It is also an adventure story in which Ammons, in Ithaca, wanders far and the extravagance of the wandering becomes a reaffirmation of the poet's role as adventurer, as Odysseus (Odysseus's name, in Greek at least, meant trouble—it was his fate to odysseus himself and others heroically). Ammons's own wandersong precisely distinguishes the heroic potentiality of now from the models of unreclaimable times: without coming on in a high-hatted, grandeurish way. The Snow Poems radiates nobility, that quality Wallace Stevens remarked as being most conspicuously absent from modern literature. One of the values of this poem is its bulk, the overweeningness of its cry: it approximates the plenitude of the novel without falling into the worn-out procedures of...
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SOURCE: "Poetic Metaphysic in A. R. Ammons," in Pembroke Magazine, No. 18, 1986, pp. 158-63.
[In the following essay, Fosso analyzes the ontological and cosmological concerns in Ammons's poetry.]
His poems witness that A. R. Ammons knows what he is about and we who relish reading him are finding him out. Take a small poem of 1975, scarcely even one of his "rondures":
Because I am
here I am
A "metaphysic," of course, is one whose epistemological concerns are especially with ontology and cosmology. If one reads "Because I am / here I am," the statement is reflexive and ontological, doubly recalling the familiar causality of "I think; therefore I am." On the other hand, if one reads "Because I am here / I am (nowhere) else," the statement is relational and squints toward the enlargingly cosmologic. Since "(nowhere)" isn't anywhere, it gets shunted into parentheses and the word quickens in the eye with an assertion of immediacy, "(now/here)," while, if read that way, its homonymic pun on "hear" demands attention. Finally, the syllabic diminuendo of the lines, 4-3-2-1, makes the form an exercise in getting down to "one," the self ontologically understood and that ever-present "One/many" problem cosmologically...
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SOURCE: "Scholar of Wind and Tree: The Early Lyrics of A. R. Ammons," in Pembroke Magazine, No. 18, 1986, pp. 236-47.
[In the following essay, Quinn discusses the place of the physical world and the figure of Ezra in Ammons's poetry.]
Beginning his 1968 Selected Poems "in the middle of the thing," A. R. Ammons as Ezra stands up against the physical universe simply by introducing himself to it: "So I said I am Ezra." The wind whipping his throat captures the words as a hunter might game, then whistles off into the dark night, a temperamental companion, or guide, as he is throughout the book. Rejected by the wind in his attempt to start a conversation, Ezra turns to the ocean but it too will have none of him, crashing surf blotting out his words. Pushed into unsteadiness by the returning wind, he faces the shore and says for the third time, "I am Ezra," then blown inward like a cloud of sand leaves the arrogant sea to splash through clumps of sea-oats frantically digging their fists of roots into dunes built up by forgotten waves. To trace the roles of wind and tree through this Old Testament prophet as "voice," not always Hebraic but often as American as its creator, is a useful way of charting some of the most fascinating poetic landscapes in contemporary letters.
The Biblical persona Ezra the scribe, of interest also to his namesake Pound, comes out of the time of the...
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SOURCE: "An Interview with A. R. Ammons," in Michigan Quarterly Review, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, Winter, 1989, pp. 105-17.
[In the following interview, conducted March 6, 1988 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Ammons discusses his life, work, and view of poetry.]
When A. R. Ammons's Collected Poems 1951–1971 appeared in 1972, Geoffrey H. Hartman wrote in The New York Times Book Review that it was "a remarkable book … his distinction as a major American poet will now be evident." A critical consensus has formed since then that Ammons is indeed one of the most important poets in our contemporary literature. He has published some seventeen volumes, including the Collected Poems (winner of the National Book Award for Poetry), Sphere: The Form of a Motion (winner of the 1973–1974 Bollingen Prize in Poetry), A Coast of Trees (winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, 1981), The Snow Poems, Corsons Inlet, Diversifications, and most recently The Selected Poems: Expanded Edition and Sumerian Vistas. Ammons was born in Whiteville, North Carolina. He is Goldwin Smith Professor of Poetry at Cornell University.
This interview was conducted on March 6, 1988, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the house where Ammons and his wife were staying while on sabbatical.
[WALSH:] I read an interview the other day...
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SOURCE: "Ammons's 'Coon Song,'" in The Explicator, Vol. 47, No. 1, Fall, 1988, pp. 40-3.
[In the following essay, Dilworth interprets Ammons's "Coon Song."]
"Coon Song" by A. R. Ammons is a remarkably metamorphic literary experience. It seems to deconstruct itself by denying its opening narrative description—about a raccoon surrounded by hunting dogs—in order to express something beyond the range of narration and description. The narrative is broken off by the poet's direct address to the reader, which initiates a dramatic monologue. Within this monologue, kinds of relationship between the poem (or poet) and the reader are in conflict. Because the dramatic monologue retains its reference to the initial narrative and because the dominant images of that narrative become metaphors in the monologue, the poem retains its unity. This achievement is especially impressive since the work tends to fly apart because of multiple generic metamorphoses. At eighty-eight lines, it is too long to reprint here in its entirety, so I will quote liberally as I interpret.
The initial narrative captures the moment before action, the imminent attack on the raccoon by the dogs:
I got one good look
in the raccoon's eyes
when he fell from the tree
came to his feet
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SOURCE: "Symbol Plural: The Later Long Poems of A. R. Ammons," in Contemporary Literature, Vol. 30, No. 1, Spring, 1989, pp. 78-94.
[In the following essay, Wolfe asserts that from "Essay on Poetics" on, "Ammons emphasizes the becoming, rather than the Being, of nature—the processes rather than the fixity of a logos which drives them." He notes a connection between Ammons's portrayal of nature and the English romantics.]
For years now, Ammons criticism has in general followed Harold Bloom's reading of the poet out of the American transcendental—Bloom's "Emersonian"—tradition. Bloom's readings have been instructive, often exciting (and make for a compelling version of literary history); his work on Ammons and on other contemporary poets (Strand and Merwin come to mind) constitutes a fascinating thematics of what it is to be an American poet. In terms of poetics, however—and here I mean how a given poet constitutes his subject—Ammons needs to be examined in light of his highly ambivalent relationship with those writers who provided the poetic machinery for the transcendentalists in the first place—I refer, of course, to the English romantics. Here, I will replace Bloom's "Emerson" with the Coleridgean "symbol" and the romantic notion of the organic—though I hope to avoid what Frank Lentricchia has called the Bloomian "spirit of revenge." Rather, I want to argue that the romantic...
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SOURCE: "Ammons's 'Singing & Doubling Together,'" in The Explicator, Vol. 49, No. 3, Spring, 1991, pp. 187-90.
[In the following essay, McGeachy Mills asserts that "In its every complexity" Ammons's 'Singing & Doubling Together,' "signals the mysterious, paradoxical, somehow linearly unknowable experience of doubling with the divine."]
A. R. Ammons's poem "Singing & Doubling Together" demonstrates the power of carefully chosen signs to create and to recreate, while exposing through the medium of the poem a complex, nonrational experience of union.
Speaking in the first person, in the present tense, from within the event itself, the speaker describes a real experience—not hearsay, but sound personally heard. That sound joins the I to a you who is an equal subject in the poem and in the experience, but a superior power. Nowhere in the poem does the identity of either the speaker or the one addressed become more specific than the personal pronouns, which themselves stress the intimate contact between the two. Activities such as cutting the grass and picking up branches depict the I as human (line 20). The you is not doctrinally distinct—bearing no identity as specific as God the Father or the Taoist Way—but it is clearly divine, a mysterious spiritual power (perhaps the energizing life force) that is "as if nothing," or no thing. Although...
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SOURCE: "Ammons Beside Himself: Poetics of 'The Bleak Periphery,'" in Arizona Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 4, Winter, 1993, pp. 99-116.
[In the following essay, Jarraway discusses Ammons's "Essay on Poetics" in relation to American literature.]
In the context of American literature, the presentiment of the writer-as-critic or the critic-as-writer is likely to be inherently a more available one than in other literatures. This is due in no small part to the fact that American literature, as Kenneth Dauber pointed out several years ago, "is a literature whose primary concern has always been its own nature," and whose object, even in the classic period of American letters, "[is] its own process," the "act of writing" in other words, "into which all forms of the written are returned." American literature, therefore, will repeatedly sensitize us to a historical moment in the writing of its poetry in which the traditional "apology" conventionally located outside the artifact—one thinks, for instance, of the classic statements of poets such as Sidney, Shelley, and Wilde—will be gathered up inside the American poem, allowing the text itself to become its own medium of authorization and legitimation. From the auto-affection of "Song of Myself," through to "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," the romance in American poetry for self-reflexivity is given without apology—at least, without any kind of...
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SOURCE: "A Poet's Long Path to Literary Honors," in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vol. XL, No. 15, December 1, 1993, p. A6.
[In the following review, Ponce discusses Garbage, stating that "As in his earlier poems, he uses an object as a springboard into thoughts of a universal significance."]
Writers usually prefer not to have their work labeled as garbage, but the poet and Cornell professor A. R. Ammons has found phenomenal success with the label.
Garbage, his latest book, won Mr. Ammons his second National Book Award for Poetry two weeks ago. It is a single, 121-page poem inspired by a heap of garbage that Mr. Ammons saw in Florida.
For the author of 21 books, Mr. Ammons is reticent about his work. "It's just what I do," he says.
His colleagues are more forthright. David Bonanno, an editor at The American Poetry Review, says Garbage is "a major poem by a major poet."
Roald Hoffman, a Cornell chemistry professor who has published two books of poetry, calls Mr. Ammons "an inspiration." Over the last 10 years, Mr. Hoffmann has participated in an informal poetry-reading group with Mr. Ammons. "He's more than a fellow poet," says Mr. Hoffman, a winner of the 1981 Nobel Prize in chemistry. "He's sort of my guru."
Although Mr. Ammons says that poetry was his "governing energy from the age...
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SOURCE: "Trash and Other Wonders of Nature," in The New York Times Book Review, Vol. 98, December 12, 1993, p. 30.
[In the following excerpt, Hirsch praises Ammons's Garbage.]
Archie Randolph Ammons's book-length poem, Garbage, the winner of this year's National Book Award, has a rueful grandeur and characteristically splendid oddity. Following the abbreviated lyricism of the retrospective volume The Really Short Poems, Garbage is a single extended performance, a meditation, as the poet says, "assimilated into motion." Over the last 40 years Mr. Ammons has consistently demonstrated the democratic precept that "anything is poetry" and here he playfully takes up—takes on—the subject of trash. Thus a mountain of junk near the I-95 in Florida becomes the site of his moving and often comic speculations about natural processes:
garbage has to be the poem of our time because
garbage is spiritual, believable enough
to get our attention, getting in the way, piling
up, stinking, turning brooks brownish and
creamy white: what else deflects us from the
errors of our illusionary ways.
Like Wallace Stevens in "The Man on the Dump," Mr. Ammons is a philosophical poet whose abstruse flights—on...
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SOURCE: "From A to Y," in Poetry, Vol. CLXIV, No. 2, May, 1994, pp. 97-107.
[In the following excerpt, Shaw offers a mixed review of Garbage.]
We have landfill to thank for A. R. Ammons's latest book-length poem. The sight of a huge mound of refuse beside I-95 in Florida was the epiphany that spurred him to this effort; like the garbage heap that fostered it, the resulting poem is imposing, at once anarchic and subject to a degree of formal design. It is also, fortunately, a lot more appealing. There is no question that you would rather read about the place as described by Ammons than be there. More than most poets, he knows what can be made of what others discard or overlook, reminding us how "anything / thrown out to the chickens will be ground fine // in gizzards or taken underground by beetles and / ants: this will be transmuted into the filigree // of ant feelers' energy vaporizations…." Although his stance and central metaphor recall those of Wallace Stevens's "The Man on the Dump," Ammons's poem is broader in reference as it is longer in pages. Certainly, like Stevens, he is concerned with the processes of imagination and treats the theme memorably. One passage, on pages 42-43, is one of the most remarkable descriptions of what it is like to write a poem, from initial gropings to final formal embodiment, that I have ever seen in verse or prose. But Garbage isn't only an ars...
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SOURCE: "'How are we to find holiness?': The Religious Vision of A. R. Ammons," in Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 40, No. 4, Winter, 1994, pp. 477-98.
[In the following essay, Lepowski analyzes the religious element in Ammons's poetry and the poet's changing portrayal of God.]
Critical attention to the religious element in the poetry of A. R. Ammons has generally subsumed it in an overall argument placing him as a modern Romantic visionary poet. Locating Ammons in this way has obscured somewhat the extent of his spirituality and its unique emotional tonality. A reading of Ammons sensitive to these may find in his development a spiritual pilgrimage with distinct phases. His idea of God, clearly present in the early poetry, undergoes a period of doubt, reconstruction, and denial in the middle of his career, and after a strong negation becomes a renewed theme in his later poetry. Meditation on the nature of God and interrogation of the visible world for revelation of the Divine occasion some of his most powerful writing.
Marius Bewley in an early review first pointed out that "Ammons is a mystical poet in the same sense that Whitman was." Somewhat later, Hyatt Waggoner discerned that "a sense of God's reality, whether as immanent or as deus absconditus, is everywhere present in the poems and should be recognized…. Ammons is a poet of religious vision," a view to which...
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SOURCE: "Recent Poetry," in Stand Magazine, Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn, 1995, pp. 77-8.
[In the following excerpt, Sail discusses the virtues and flaws of Ammons's Tape for the Turn of the Year and Garbage.]
… Should a poem be, formally or thematically, open or closed? What is the poet's responsibility to himself or herself, to the poem, to the tradition, to the events of the twentieth century? Can the modesty that history may seem to demand also mislead into political oversimplification? Where does an awareness of complexity become clutter or prolixity? When does spacious equal specious? At what point might self-consciousness become self-defeat?
A. R. Ammons, now nearing his 70th year, would appear to have found a novel answer to such challenges in his long poem Tape for the Turn of the Year, dating from 1965 and now reissued. What he calls 'this foolish / long / thin / poem' aims to benefit from a mechanical imperative, as the blurb explains: 'In the form of a journal covering the period December 6, 1963, through January 10, 1964 … [it] … was written on a roll of adding-machine tape, then transferred foot by foot to manuscript. He chose this method as a serious experiment in making a poem adapt to something outside itself.' There follow 210 pages of vertical notebook, in a confident mode which has affinities with both Whitman and Ashbery. As far as I could see, the...
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SOURCE: "Cheesespreadology," in London Review of Books, Vol. 18, No. 5, March 7, 1996, pp. 26-7.
[In the following excerpt, Sansom discusses Ammons's critical reception in England.]
In a power-rhyming slap-happy parody of Thirties doom-mongering published in 1938 William Empson famously had 'Just a Smack at Auden':
What was said by Marx, boys, what did he
No good being sparks, boys, waiting for the end.
Treason of the clerks, boys, curtains that descend,
Lights becoming darks, boys, waiting for the end.
By contrast, in a lecture on 'Rhythm and Imagery in English Poetry' to the British Society of Aesthetics in 1961, Empson gave William Carlos Williams and his reviewers an exasperated wallop:
The most unexpected American critics will be found speaking of him with tender reverence; they feel he is a kind of saint. He has renounced all the pleasures of the English language, so that he is completely American; and he only says the dullest things, so he has won the terrible fight to become completely democratic as well. I think that, if they are such gluttons for punishment as all that, they are past help....
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Baker, David. "The Push of Reading." Kenyon Review 16, No. 4 (Fall 1994): 161-76.
Praises Ammons's Garbage as a "brilliant book."
Cushman, Stephen. "A. R. Ammons, or the Rigid Lines of the Free and Easy." In his Fictions of Form in American Poetry, pp. 149-86. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.
Analyzes the place of form in Ammons's poetry.
Deane, Patrick. "Justified Radicalism: A. R. Ammons with a Glance at John Cage." Papers on Language and Literature 28, No. 2 (Spring 1992): 206-22.
Discusses the implications of Ammons's use of adding machine tape to compose his Tape for the Turn of the Year.
Doreski, William. "Sublimity and Order in the Snow Poems." Pembroke Magazine, No. 21 (1989): 68-76.
Analyzes how Ammons's The Snow Poems "demonstrates the aesthetic possibilities and limitations of sequence."
Kirby, David. "Is There a Southern Poetry?" The Southern Review 30, No. 4 (Autumn 1994): 869-80.
Discusses what is unique about southern poets, including A. R. Ammons.
Oates, Joyce Carol. "Books...
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