Burning City:Poems of Metropolitan Modernity

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Burning City:Poems of Metropolitan Modernity
Poetry. BURNING CITY acts as a multisensory Baedecker to the many incarnations of international modernism from 1910-1939. Inspired by the abandoned plans of the early avant-garde poet Yvan Goll to write a history of modernity through the poetry of that era, scholars Jed Rasula and Tim Conley have carried out Goll's project, scouring the small journals and magazines of the period for both lost and seminal texts. BURNING CITY is organized not just according to the cities which inspired the texts--Paris, Cracow, Buenos Aires, and so on--but according to such icons of the modern urban experience as Cineland, Music Hall, Electric Man. BURNING CITY makes a new contribution to anthologies of both poetry and modernism by its thematic focus on city life, by its inclusion of poets from languages and nationalities seldom represented in standard US surveys, and by its preservation of the typographic versatility of the this feverishly innovating period.

'The fascination of cities, ' wrote Langston Hughes, 'seizes me, burning like a fever in the blood.' BURNING CITY enacts that passion with astonishing skill and learning. Whatever else Modernism was or was not, its geography was that of the New Urbanism: from Paris and Berlin to São Paulo and Shanghai, from such icons as the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building to Moscow's Nikitin Circus, it is the City in all its contradictions, its splendors and miseries, that was to become the laboratory of modernism, still dominating our dreams and nightmares a century after the fact. Truly global in its reach, yet local in its exacting particularities, BURNING CITY breaks down the old familiar isms and genre divisions, introducing us to writings we've never seen before, printed side by side with our favorite poems by Huidobro and Musil, Mayakovsky and Mina Loy. In a nutshell, the map of modernism will never be the same!--Marjorie Perloff
Publication Date: 
January 20, 2012