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Barrett Watten Biography

This Biography consists of approximately 21 pages of information about the life of Barrett Watten.
This section contains 6,142 words
(approx. 21 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Barrett Watten Biography

Dictionary of Literary Biography on Barrett Watten

"The idea," Barrett Watten says in his book-length poem Progress (1985), is not, as William Carlos Williams believed, "in things." Rather it "Is the thing"--as much materially, as psychologically, real. The significance of this linking of ideas with the materiality of language for contemporary poetry cannot be overestimated. In Watten's writing--as in much of the Language School, of which he is a leading figure--language itself, in its objective, material aspect, is the horizon of the work. By rigorously interrogating language's presumed transparency to meaning, Watten critiques the "system" of "discursive rules and operations" that, in Michael Davidson's words, underlie the "ideological interests of the dominant culture."

Watten's poetry is thus both a form of political engagement and a method of "calling existence into question"--a question which, without the slightest trace of idealist aesthetics, "becomes oneself." As he told Manuel Brito in 1991,

Meaning in this sense becomes . . . practice...

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This section contains 6,142 words
(approx. 21 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Barrett Watten Biography
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