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Modernist poetry

Modernist poetry is characterised by technical innovation in the mode of versification (sometimes referred to as free verse) and by the dislocation of the 'I' of the poet.

These two facets of modernist poetry are intimately connected with each other. The dislocation of the authorial presence is achieved through the application of such techniques as collage, found poetry, visual poetry, the juxtaposition of apparently unconnected materials, etc. At the same time, these techniques are used not for their own sake but to open up questions in the mind of the reader.

Modernist poetry in English is often viewed as an American phenomenon in origin, with leading exponents including Ezra Pound, Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, H.D, and Louis Zukofsky, but there are a number of important British modernists, such as David Jones, Hugh MacDiarmid, Mina Loy, and Basil Bunting.

The influence of modernism can be seen in such later poetic groups and movements as the Objectivist poets, the beat generation, the Black Mountain poets, the deep image group and the British Poetry Revival.

In Ireland a group of poets oriented towards the work of James Joyce established a lineage of Irish poetic modernism. Prominent among these were Samuel Beckett, Thomas MacGreevy, Denis Devlin and Brian Coffey. Contemporary poets associated with Irish modernism include Trevor Joyce, Michael Smith, Geoffrey Squires, Randolph Healy, Catherine Walsh and Maurice Scully in Ireland, Tom Raworth and Maggie O'Sullivan in the U.K., and Susan Howe and Fanny Howe in the U.S.A.

See also

List of English-language first and second generation modernist writers