From Objective to Concrete

From Objective to Concrete:
Transnational Literary Networks and Midcentury Avant-Garde Journals


This study maps interactions, correspondences, and developments of experimental and avant-garde journals through the 1950s and 1960s. In particular it looks at the exchanges between American journals Origin (Cid Corman, ed.) and Black Mountain Review (Robert Creeley, ed.), and Scottish journal Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. (Ian Hamilton Finlay, ed.) in order to chart the development and distribution of various poetic practices. (Other journals—such as Alexander Trocchi’s Merlin or Alan Riddell’s Lines Review—may make their way into this study, as well.) By attending to the publishing choices, editorial policies, and correspondences within and between these various journals and their editors, we can identify a clear line of development from the predominantly American, Objectivist poetry of Louis Zukofsky, Lorine Niedecker, and others to the international, Concrete poetry that found space in later issues of Finlay’s journal. Writ large, this project attempts to reconsider the development of postwar American poetry within a more explicitly international (and, with Finlay, a markedly Scottish) context.