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The Objectivists

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The Objectivists were a group of left-wing, mainly Jewish American poets who formed a brief though important alliance in the 1930s, when they felt poetry needed a new identity.

The guiding principles of Objectivist poetry were fresh vocabulary and musical shaping, drawing on a stripped-down but radiant language of images and perceptions.

The core of the group was formed by Louis Zukofsky, George Oppen, Charles Reznikoff and Carl Rakosi, but Lorine Niedecker, Kenneth Rexroth and Muriel Rukeyser were affiliated players, as well as Basil Bunting in Britain. They are especially interesting to us today because they took up the challenge of experiment with a modern ambitious lyric poetry sharpened by their experience of the new metropolitan city.

In the Objectivists' heyday, the Depression years, they laid down examples which have been picked up in turn by the Black Mountain Poets and the Beat Generation, and later by Postmodernism, and which still remain fruitful. The trademark smartness and brevity of Objectivist poetry, along with a vital commitment to the spirit of the century, make Andrew McAllister's anthology an exciting and relevant book for a new generation of poetry readers.