By Clemens Spahr
Tackling subject matters equivalent to globalization and political activism, this publication strains engaged poetics in twentieth century American poetry. Spahr offers a accomplished view of activist poetry, beginning with the nice melancholy and the Harlem Renaissance and relocating to the Beats and modern writers akin to Amiri Baraka and Mark Nowak.
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Additional info for A Poetics of Global Solidarity: Modern American Poetry and Social Movements
After a young striker was killed during the protests, Giovannitti and Ettor were arrested for inciting a riot, even though they were not present during the protests (cf. Tejada 49). 1 At a time that saw the growing political impact of American radicalism, in particular that of the Italian American Left, Giovannitti became an icon of the labor movement. Giovannitti was not only an influential labor organizer; he was also a poet whose works were published in widely circulated magazines such as The Liberator and frequently noted by contemporary critics.
To describe the women’s cultural and political agency, Govannitti uses precisely those terms with which Filippo Tommaso Marinetti referred to a past that needed to be overcome by Futurism. In his “Futurist Manifesto” (1909), Marinetti asserts that “a roaring motorcar, which seems to race on like machine-gun fire, is more beautiful than the Winged Victory of Samothrace” (13). Giovannitti’s elegiac language, by contrast, turns Macy into a Madonna from whose eyes “the world’s tears flow” and Keller into the “goddess-child” (Collected Poems 63).
Blazing Signals of a World in Birth” ● 25 Cosmopolis of Mankind Even though Giovannitti was raised in a middle-class family, he had certainly noticed the proletarian cosmopolitanism developed by Italian workers toward the end of the nineteenth century, especially given his origins in one of the poorest regions of Italy (cf. Gabaccia 81–105). In addition to this class-based cosmopolitanism, Giovannitti arrived in the United States equipped with a profound grasp of Western culture, with Renaissance and biblical imagery forming constant reference points in his poetry.