Sentimental Education Historical Context

Mary Ruefle
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In “Difficult and Otherwise: New Work by Ruefle, Young, and Aleshire,” Peter Harris determines that a good number of contemporary poets write obscure poetry that refuses to cater “to the illusive ideal of a ‘common reader’ who has a need to ‘get it.’” The goal of poets such as Leslie Scalapino (Zither & Autobiography, 2003), Mary Ruefle, Dean Young (Skid, 2002), and Joan Aleshire (Litany of Thanks, 2003) is, Harris maintains, to “elude closure, embrace discontinuity, celebrate polyvalence” (the use of language that can have more than one meaning). The poets in this group came to be known as “local” poets, writing poetry, Harris explains, for readers “who know how to break a particular code” in a poem and thus find meaning. Reading their poetry can be a frustrating experience, however, for those who expect the...

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This section contains 506 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sentimental Education Study Guide
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