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Language Writing

Jerome McGann, 15 October 1987

In the American Tree: Language, Poetry, Realism 
by Ron Silliman.
National Poetry Foundation, 628 pp., $34.50, June 1986, 0 915032 33 3
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‘Language’ Poetries: An Anthology 
by Douglas Messerli.
New Directions, 184 pp., $19.95, March 1987, 0 8112 1006 5
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... important and influential of these new American writers. The anthologies edited by Silliman and Douglas Messerli contain a great deal of unpleasant and difficult poetry – for example, this passage from David Melnick’s Pcoet which Silliman prints: seta colecc puilse, i canoe it spear heieo as Rea, cinct pp pools we sly drosp Geianto     (o ...
Djuna Barnes 
by Philip Herring.
Viking, 416 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 670 84969 3
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... else laughs a little better.’ This is clearly a florid performance on both their parts, though Douglas Messerli, who wrote the Introduction to Barnes’s collected interviews – I could never be lonely without a husband (1987) – believes that her voice is so instantly recognisable in those of others that she must have invented her ...

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